metastable state

metastable

[met-uh-stey-buhl, met-uh-stey-]
adjective
1.
Metallurgy. chemically unstable in the absence of certain conditions that would induce stability, but not liable to spontaneous transformation.
2.
Also, labile. Physics, Chemistry. pertaining to a body or system existing at an energy level (metastable state) above that of a more stable state and requiring the addition of a small amount of energy to induce a transition to the more stable state.

Origin:
1895–1900; meta- + stable2

metastability [met-uh-stuh-bil-i-tee] , noun
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World English Dictionary
metastable (ˌmɛtəˈsteɪbəl)
 
adj
1.  (of a body or system) having a state of apparent equilibrium although capable of changing to a more stable state
2.  (of an atom, molecule, ion, or atomic nucleus) existing in an excited state with a relatively long lifetime
 
n
3.  a metastable atom, ion, molecule, or nucleus
 
metasta'bility
 
n

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