chain reaction

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chain

 [chān]
a collection of objects linked together in linear fashion, or end to end, as the assemblage of atoms or radicals in a chemical compound, or an assemblage of individual bacterial cells.
branched chain an open chain of atoms, usually carbon, with one or more side chains attached to it.
closed chain several atoms linked together so as to form a ring, which may be saturated, as in cyclopentane, or aromatic, as in benzene.
H chain (heavy chain) any of the large polypeptide chains of five classes that, paired with the L or light chains, make up the antibody molecule of an immunoglobulin; heavy chains bear the antigenic determinants that differentiate the classes of immunoglobulins. See also heavy chain disease.
J chain a polypeptide occurring in polymeric IgM and IgA molecules.
L chain (light chain) either of the two small polypeptide chains (molecular weight 22,000) that, when linked to H or heavy chains by disulfide bonds, make up the antibody molecule of an immunoglobulin monomer; they are of two types, kappa and lambda, which are unrelated to immunoglobulin class differences.
open chain a series of atoms united in a straight line; components of this series are related to methane.
chain reaction a chemical reaction that is self-propagating; each time a free radical is destroyed a new one is formed.
side chain a group of atoms attached to a larger chain or to a ring.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

chain re·ac·tion

a self-perpetuating process in which a product of one step in the reaction serves to bring about the next step in the reaction. Compare: autocatalysis, chain reflex.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

chain re·ac·tion

(chān rē-ak'shŭn)
A self-perpetuating reaction in which a product of one step in the reaction itself serves to bring about the next step in the reaction, and so on.
Compare: autocatalysis
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

chain reaction

A self-sustaining reaction maintained by producing products that induce it. Neutrons produced by atomic fission in a mass of uranium can induce sustainable further fission of uranium atoms.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005

chain reaction

a chemical or atomic reaction in which the products of each state promote a subsequent reaction. Initially there is a slow induction period, but as the reaction progresses the reaction rate is accelerated.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
To encourage creativity, flatten the hierarchy, encourage contributions from everyone and benefit from the richness of connections and chain reactions that occur when we work in diverse teams.
The researchers said that a single electron caused a self-perpetuating chain reaction that rearranged the bonds in 10 consecutive molecules positioned on a gold surface.
Once those compounds had settled in the delta, geological processes such as uplifting of earth layers and erosion eventually positioned the deposits of concentrated uranium underground, where they were bathed in enough water to start the chain reactions. Under those circumstances, the scientists propose that in each 30-minute active phase, the reactor became so hot that the water boiled away and the reactor stopped working.
Subcritical nuclear tests are different from traditional nuclear experiments in that they are halted before nuclear materials reach ''criticality,'' in which a nuclear chain reaction is triggered.
Also decide this: should there be, to paraphrase Einstein, even more contact between the federal government and the health care administrators who could have a profound "chain reaction in America"?
As early as 1932, it had occurred to the Hungarian born physicist Leo Szilard (1898-1964) that a nuclear chain reaction was also possible.
Sulfite oxidation produces radicals and chain reactions and does not take place in the absence of metal ions, which act catalytically.