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critical

critical critical mass originally, the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. In extended usage, the minimum size or amount of resources required to start or maintain a venture.
critical path the sequence of stages determining the minimum time needed for an operation, especially when analysed on a computer for a large organization.

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critical mass

crit·i·cal mass • n. Physics the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction. ∎ fig. the minimum size or amount of something required to start or maintain a venture: a communication system is of no value unless there is a critical mass of users.

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critical mass

critical mass Minimum mass of fissionable material required in a fission bomb or nuclear reactor to sustain a chain reaction. The fissionable material of a fission bomb divides into portions less than the critical mass; when brought together at the moment of detonation they exceed the critical mass. See also fission

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critical mass

critical mass: see chain reaction.

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