Award Date


Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

Advisor 1

Robert Boehm

First Committee Member

Ernesto Abel-Santos

Second Committee Member

Marta Meana

Number of Pages



Energy is difficult to come by in developing countries and this interferes with the ability of doctors to provide good healthcare to their patients. Without decent sterilization, patients can become infected and diseases can spread throughout hospitals. This study involves designing a solar autoclave for developing countries that is as efficient as electrical autoclaves. The design is intended to not require any electrical input and to be affordable to those who cannot afford advanced medical equipment. Once the solar autoclave is designed, it will be tested to determine if it can sterilize equipment against a variety of different bacteria, including bacteria that are Biosafety level 2. These bacteria are the cause of many deadly outbreaks, making it necessary for an autoclave to be effective in killing these dangerous bacteria. Despite these aims, the design executed in this study was not able to reach the desired temperature and pressure goals. Using data from the experiments conducted in this study, errors in execution and recommendations are discussed. Further research will be needed to design a solar autoclave with the capacity for a full cycle for sterilization.


Autoclaves; Solar energy; Sterilization


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Heat Transfer, Combustion | International Public Health | Mechanical Engineering | Sustainability