Definitions for nuclear fission
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word nuclear fission
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
fission (def. 2).
fission, nuclear fission(noun)
a nuclear reaction in which a massive nucleus splits into smaller nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy
a nuclear reaction in which a large nucleus splits into smaller ones with the simultaneous release of energy
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is either a nuclear reaction or a radioactive decay process in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts. The fission process often produces free neutrons and photons, and releases a very large amount of energy even by the energetic standards of radioactive decay. Nuclear fission of heavy elements was discovered in 1938 by Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, and Otto Robert Frisch. It was named by analogy with biological fission of living cells. It is an exothermic reaction which can release large amounts of energy both as electromagnetic radiation and as kinetic energy of the fragments. In order for fission to produce energy, the total binding energy of the resulting elements must be greater than that of the starting element. Fission is a form of nuclear transmutation because the resulting fragments are not the same element as the original atom. The two nuclei produced are most often of comparable but slightly different sizes, typically with a mass ratio of products of about 3 to 2, for common fissile isotopes. Most fissions are binary fissions, but occasionally, three positively charged fragments are produced, in a ternary fission. The smallest of these fragments in ternary processes ranges in size from a proton to an argon nucleus.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of a heavy atom such as uranium or plutonium is split into two approximately equal parts by a neutron, charged particle, or photon.
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