Definitions for nuclear fusion
fusion, nuclear fusion, nuclear fusion reaction(noun)
a nuclear reaction in which nuclei combine to form more massive nuclei with the simultaneous release of energy
The combining of the nuclei of small atoms to form the nuclei of larger ones, with a resulting release of large quantities of energy; the process that makes the sun shine, and hydrogen bomb explode.
In nuclear physics, nuclear fusion is a nuclear reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei collide at very high speed and join to form a new type of atomic nucleus. During this process, matter is not conserved because some of the mass of the fusing nuclei is converted to photons which are released through a cycle that even our sun uses. Fusion is the process that powers active or "main sequence" stars. The fusion of two nuclei with lower masses than iron generally releases energy, while the fusion of nuclei heavier than iron absorbs energy. The opposite is true for the reverse process, nuclear fission. This means that fusion generally occurs for lighter elements only, and likewise, that fission normally occurs only for heavier elements. There are extreme astrophysical events that can lead to short periods of fusion with heavier nuclei. This is the process that gives rise to nucleosynthesis, the creation of the heavy elements during events such as supernovae.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Thermonuclear reaction in which the nuclei of an element of low atomic weight unite under extremely high temperature and pressure to form a nucleus of a heavier atom.
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