This article explains only one type of autoclave for one specific use, which is wet-processing for sterilization. Wet-process autoclaves are also used in the cement manufacturing industry, as well as rubber vulcanization, and wood treatment.
There are also dry-process autoclaves which use gas pressurization with electric, oil, and gas heating systems. These autoclaves are common in the composites industry and in glass laminating.
Within the composites industry, autoclaves are used to cure parts for aerospace, automotive, marine, and other industries. As composite technology has developed rapidly over the past few decades, autoclaves are increasingly being used for aerospace components where weight and strength are critical factors determining the development of advanced aircraft for aerospace firms around the world. Companies such as Boeing, Airbus, and GKN use autoclaves every day to cure composite materials used to make jets for commercial and military use. The largest autoclave in the world, at 30' diameter (9.2M) and 76' length (23M) was built in 2006 for Vought Aircraft to support the curing of Boeing's new composite-fuselage jet, the 787. The 787 is expected to be approximately 20 percent more efficient in fuel usage than comparable modern aluminum body jets, along with multiple other attributes.