Meaning of supercritical in English:


Pronunciation /ˌsuːpəˈkrɪtɪkl/


  • 1Physics
    Above a critical threshold.

    1. 1.1(in nuclear physics) containing or involving more than the critical mass.
      ‘After this supercritical mass is obtained, a self-sustained chain reaction takes place and causes the atomic explosion.’
      • ‘The simplest atomic bomb works when two pieces of supercritical Uranium - 235 are brought together at speed.’
    2. 1.2(of a flow of fluid) faster than the speed at which waves travel in the fluid.
    3. 1.3Denoting an aerofoil or aircraft wing designed to tolerate shock-wave formation at transonic speeds.
    4. 1.4Relating to or denoting a fluid at a temperature and pressure greater than its critical temperature and pressure.
      ‘Chemists are attempting to address this problem by finding alternative solvents, such as water and supercritical CO2, and by biphasic system that allows catalyst recycling.’
      • ‘The availability of experimental data for this reaction using cutinase in acetonitrile and supercritical CO2 has prompted this choice.’
      • ‘But there's plenty of ammonia out there, too, along with methane, sulfuric acid, and other potential solvents like the supercritical dihydrogen found in the lower layers of gas giant planets.’
      • ‘‘With supercritical fluid extraction, we compress and heat a gas - usually carbon dioxide - so it becomes more dense and liquidlike,’ King explains.’