This type of furnace is a pressure vessel, which is hermetically sealed and is used for the heat treatment of materials in the overpressure range above atmospheric pressure.
The autoclave functions according to the principle of the Papin pot, which was patented by the French physicist Denis Papin in 1681 and is the forerunner of the still extremely popular pressure cooker. It is well known that an increased pressure is built up due to the hermetically sealed vessel, which in turn ensures an increase in the boiling temperature and thus reduces the cooking time enormously.
By achieving the increased pressure and consequently increased temperatures, this functional principle is used, for example, in medical engineering for steam pressure sterilization of surgical instruments, for disinfecting jewelry and tools, in the chemical industry for manufacturing soap, for steam curing or curing materials, for preservation in the food and animal feed industry, for pressing fiber composite materials and in the vulcanizing of rubber in car tire production.
Industrial furnaces of this type can be designed not only for smaller quantities but also for larger quantities of material or production units. Due to the characteristic isolation of this equipment with regard to the external atmosphere, the heat treatment of the respective material is batch-wise, i.e. continuously in succession.