Chain reaction (physics)
Nettles, William G. Department of Physics, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.
Last reviewed:November 2018
Show previous versions
- Factors affecting the effective neutron multiplication
- Nuclides for chain reactions
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A nuclear fission process in which neutrons produced in earlier fission events cause successive fission events. Fission (splitting) of a large-mass atomic nucleus may be induced when the nucleus absorbs a neutron. Fission results in the release of approximately 200 MeV (200 × 106 electronvolts) of energy, divided among the kinetic energy of two (and rarely, three) medium-size fragments, 1 to 5 neutrons (most often 2 or 3), and some gamma rays (∼8 MeV). The fission neutrons can interact with nearby fissionable nuclei (the fission fuel), producing more fissions and more neutrons (see Fig. 1). If there is enough fuel assembled to interact with the fission neutrons, the number of fissions per second in this chain reaction can be sustained or increase. See also: Atomic nucleus; Electronvolt; Energy; Gamma rays; Mass; Neutron; Nuclear fission
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 45 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information