critical mass

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critical mass

n.
1. The smallest mass of a fissionable material that will sustain a nuclear chain reaction at a constant level.
2. The total mass of matter needed to generate sufficient gravitational force to halt the current expansion of the universe.
3. An amount or level needed for a specific result or new action to occur: "[Plastic bags are] so nearly weightless that it's difficult to gather enough of a critical mass to make recycling them economically worthwhile" (Susan Freinkel).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

critical mass

n
1. (Nuclear Physics) the minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction
2. the minimum amount of money or number of people required to start or sustain an operation, business, process, etc: the critical mass for a subscription digital sports channel.
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

crit′ical mass′


n.
1. the amount of a given fissionable material necessary to sustain a chain reaction.
2. an amount necessary or sufficient to have a significant effect or to achieve a result.
[1940–45]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

critical mass

The minimum amount of fissionable material capable of supporting a chain reaction under precisely specified conditions.
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.critical mass - the minimum amount (of something) required to start or maintain a venture; "the battle for the computer market has now reached critical mass"; "there is now a critical mass of successful women to take the lead"; "they sold the business because it lacked critical mass"
amount - the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion; "an adequate amount of food for four people"
2.critical mass - the minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a chain reaction
mass - the property of a body that causes it to have weight in a gravitational field
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations
masse critique

critical mass

n (Phys) → kritische Masse; (fig)Mindestanforderung f; to reach critical mass (fig)einen kritischen Punkt erreichen
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in periodicals archive ?
The maximum reactivity insertion was 0.3$ (see Table 4); therefore supercriticality is avoided.
The pulsed operation mode of the reactor is established when the prompt neutron supercriticality ([delta]k - [beta]) reaches the "equilibrium" value [MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (at 5 Hz) at which the reactor can be periodically pulsed.