Duppen, Piet Van Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica, Celestijnenlaan, Leuven, Belgium.
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A nuclear reaction that can take place when two nuclei collide at very high energy (typically 500 MeV per nucleon and up), in which the involved nuclei are either disintegrated into their constituents (protons and neutrons), light nuclei, and elementary particles, or a large number of nucleons are expelled from the colliding system resulting in a nucleus with a smaller atomic number. This mechanism is clearly different from fusion reactions induced by heavy or light ions with modest kinetic energy (typically 5 MeV per nucleon) where, after formation of a compound nucleus, only a few nucleons are evaporated. A spallation reaction can be compared to a glass that shatters in many pieces when it falls on the ground. The way that the kinetic energy is distributed over the different particles involved in a spallation reaction and the process whereby this results in residues and fluxes of outgoing particles are not well understood. See also: Nuclear fusion
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