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Superheated steam poses a risk to sterilization as it contains no moisture, which, combined with temperature, is essential for the coagulation of bacterial cell walls. Superheated steam will have the same sterilizing effect as hot air and will require very long hold times at the temperatures used within sterilizers. Superheated steam, while not common can be present either for short durations, or throughout the cycle.

The cause of superheated steam is usually as the result of large pressure drops between the steam distribution system and the sterilizer. EN 285 recommends that the pressure drop ratio should not exceed 2:1. If you are sterilizing at 121 degrees celsius (nominal 1 BarG), the supply pressure to the sterilizer should not exceed 2 BarG.

The test is carried out by reducing the supply steam pressure to atmospheric through an orifice (pitot tube) and measuring the steam temperature a fixed distance away. If the measured temperature does not exceeds the boiling point at the local pressure (typically 100 degrees celsius) by more than 25 degrees celsius the test is deemed to have passed (EN 285). When testing, we try to ensure that we measure the highest temperature and adjust the temperature sensor position to ensure that this is the case.

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Orders/Instructions must include:

      1. The correct ordering references e.g. SQ1P Steam Quality Test Kit, must be used at all times.
      2. Detailed delivery address including any post/ZIP code where applicable and a contact name with telephone and/or fax number. If we are provided with an e-mail address, we will notify on shipment with tracking number to allow delivery progress to be seen on www.ups.com
      3. Invoice address and contact information if different from the delivery address.
      4. Purchase order number else unique identifier to allow accounts enquiries to be progressed.
      5. EU purchasers must provide their VAT number – Our VAT Number is GB614 7057 51.
      6. Any special delivery requirements. If you wish us to use your shipper, full contact details must be provided, together with your account number.
      7. Additional charges may result for some shipments due to the need for documents to be sent by courier, Certificates of Origin etc. Our price includes the provision of Commercial Invoices only and we ask that you advise of any other specific requirements prior to placing you order and we will resubmit a quotation. Failure to do this will result in shipment delays as we will not ship without agreed payment terms for these additional items.

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Background information on each of the tests and hints and tips. Steam Quality Testing – Hints and Tips.


Details how the steam quality tests and test limits were derived – Derivation of Steam Quality Test Limits

This paper details how the steam quality test limits should be applied to different processes – The Application of Steam Quality Test Limits


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