A procedure has been devised for the use of steam to sterilize a water-purification cartridge, chrom- atographic column, or other closed packed column that is required to be kept filled with water and from which it is required to exclude air bubbles, which could impede flow. For the purpose of this procedure, the column must be equipped with valves and quick-disconnect fittings at both ends. First, the column is flushed and filled with distilled water. The outlet of the column is then connected to a tube, the other end of which is open and is placed at the bottom of a bottle partly filled with distilled water. More distilled water is flushed from the inlet, then through the column, outlet, and tube, into the bottle. The inlet valve is closed and disconnected from the source of water, the column is placed on a stand in an autoclave with the outlet valve open, and the autoclave is activated through its heating cycle. After cooldown from the heating cycle, the outlet valve is closed and disconnected from the column, which is now sterile and filled with distilled water.
This work was done by Richard L. Sauer, Duane L. Pierson, and Jose G. Limardo of Johnson Space Center and David W. Koenig and Paul Mudgett of KRUG Life Sciences.