autoclave, n. [F., fr. Gr. a'yto`s self + L. clavis key.].
A kind of French stewpan with a steam-tight lid. Knight. [1913 Webster]
a device used for sterilizing objects by exposing them to steam at above atmospheric pressure (and thus at a temperature above the normal boiling point of water). It consists of a closed chamber able to withstand internal pressure, and a means of passing superheated steam into the chamber. Autoclaves are made in various sizes, and are much used in hospitals and research laboratories to render instruments and equipment sterile. [PJC]