Definitions for nuclear reaction
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word nuclear reaction
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
Ref: reaction (def. 5b). 7 2
(physics) a process that alters the energy or structure or composition of atomic nuclei
a process such as the fission of an atomic nucleus, or the fusion of one or more atomic nuclei and / or subatomic particles in which the number of protons and / or neutrons in a nucleus changes; the reaction products may contain a different element or a different isotope of the same element
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, a nuclear reaction is semantically considered to be the process in which two nuclei, or else a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle from outside the atom, collide to produce one or more nuclides that are different from the nuclide that began the process. Thus, a nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one nuclide to another. If a nucleus interacts with another nucleus or particle and they then separate without changing the nature of any nuclide, the process is simply referred to as a type of nuclear scattering, rather than a nuclear reaction. In principle, a reaction can involve more than two particles colliding, but because the probability of three or more nuclei to meet at the same time at the same place is much less than for two nuclei, such an event is exceptionally rare. "Nuclear reaction" is a term implying an induced change in a nuclide, and thus it does not apply to any type of radioactive decay. Natural nuclear reactions occur in the interaction between cosmic rays and matter, and nuclear reactions can be employed artificially to obtain nuclear energy, at an adjustable rate, on demand. Perhaps the most notable nuclear reactions are the nuclear chain reactions in fissionable materials that produces induced nuclear fission, and the various nuclear fusion reactions of light elements that power the energy production of the Sun and stars. Both of these types of reactions are employed in nuclear weapons.
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