Chain reaction (chemistry)
Daniels, Farrington Formerly, Solar Energy Laboratory, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:April 2019
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- Photochemical reactions
- Thermal reactions
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A chemical reaction in which many molecules undergo chemical reaction after one molecule becomes activated. In ordinary chemical reactions, every molecule that reacts must first become activated by collision with other rapidly moving molecules. The number of these violent collisions per second is so small that the reaction is slow. Once a chain reaction is started, it is not necessary to wait for more collisions with activated molecules to accelerate the reaction, which now proceeds spontaneously.
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