chain reaction

A reaction in which one or more reactive reaction intermediates (frequently radicals) are continuously regenerated, usually through a repetitive cycle of elementary steps (the 'propagation step'). For example, in the chlorination of methane by a radical mechanism, Cl. is continuously regenerated in the chain propagation steps:
In chain polymerization reactions, reactive intermediates of the same types, generated in successive steps or cycles of steps, differ in relative molecular mass, as in:
See also: chain branching, chain transfer, degenerate chain branching, initiation, termination
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077 (Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)) on page 1094
PAC, 1993, 65, 2291 (Nomenclature of kinetic methods of analysis (IUPAC Recommendations 1993)) on page 2293
PAC, 1996, 68, 149 (A glossary of terms used in chemical kinetics, including reaction dynamics (IUPAC Recommendations 1996)) on page 157
See also:
PAC, 1990, 62, 2167 (Glossary of atmospheric chemistry terms (Recommendations 1990)) on page 2179