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thermal neutron

noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for thermal neutron
  • thermal neutron absorbing material added to the fuel during manufacturing to increase initial core fuel load.
  • Beryllium is used in nuclear reactors as a reflector or moderator for it has a low thermal neutron absorption cross section.
  • The reference concept includes a helium-cooled, graphite moderated, thermal neutron spectrum reactor.
  • Thus, a thermal neutron detector can operate at room temperature.
  • thermal neutron detectors are used to determine the presence of special nuclear materials.
thermal neutron in Science
thermal neutron  
See slow neutron.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for thermal neutron

any free neutron (one that is not bound within an atomic nucleus) that has an average energy of motion (kinetic energy) corresponding to the average energy of the particles of the ambient materials. Relatively slow and of low energy, thermal neutrons exhibit properties, such as large cross sections in fission, that make them desirable in certain chain-reaction applications. Furthermore, the long de Broglie wavelengths of thermal neutrons make them valuable for certain applications of neutron optics. Thermal neutrons are produced by slowing down more energetic neutrons in a substance called a moderator after they have been ejected from atomic nuclei during nuclear reactions such as fission.

Learn more about thermal neutron with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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