Critical mass

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Critical mass refers to the mass of a fissile isotope necessary to cause a sustainable nuclear fission reaction.[1] At the critical mass, the rate of production of neutrons by fission equals the rate at which they are absorbed. The critical mass of an isotope depends on a variety of factors such as its temperature, density and its shape. If critical mass is reached, then the nuclear reaction could run away resulting in a large amount of energy being released and possibly a nuclear explosion.

References

  1. Wile, Dr. Jay L. Exploring Creation With Physical Science. Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. 1999, 2000