BioWork 3110: Steam Collapse

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In biomanufacturing, we use moist heat  - saturated, pressurized steam - to kill microbes. But steam’s unique physical properties present some real challenges. 

When steam cools, it condenses into water. The water takes up far less space than the steam resulting in a vacuum. So what might happen if we use the wrong filter and improperly vent a 5,000 L bioreactor? Well, let’s find out by testing it on a much smaller scale using an empty soda bottle and can.

Caution: Always wear the appropriate PPE.

The BioWork certificate program will teach you the foundational skills you need to begin a career as a process technician for a biotechnology, pharmaceutical, or chemical manufacturing company. BioWork is offered at ten NC Community Colleges around the state. To find the one nearest you, visit