Definition of subcritical in English:



  • 1Below a critical threshold.

    • ‘At subcritical forward velocities, here less than 0.16 nL / sec, the template predicts that no stable gaits exist.’
    • ‘The US has not performed a nuclear test in 10 years, although it has conducted at least 17 subcritical tests - the most recent in August - which are allowed under the CTBT.’
    1. 1.1 (in nuclear physics) containing or involving less than the critical mass.
      • ‘When the fuse is triggered, a conventional explosion causes the second subcritical mass to be propelled at a high velocity into the first subcritical mass.’
      • ‘In a fission bomb, the fuel must be kept in separate subcritical masses, which will not support fission, to prevent premature detonation.’
      • ‘Notwithstanding, the U.S. government continues to possess and maintain approximately 10,000 nuclear weapons, and is conducting an ongoing program of subcritical nuclear testing.’
      • ‘She watched the reactor output climb until the drive was subcritical.’
      • ‘The most obvious was the gun assembly technique, in which two subcritical masses of enriched uranium were explosively driven and held together until nuclear fission began and was sustained.’
    2. 1.2 (of a flow of fluid) slower than the speed at which waves travel in the fluid.
      • ‘At 20°C the solution has a critical point at ionic strengths of ~ 13 mM and becomes increasingly subcritical as the ionic strength is lowered.’