Astrophysics (Index)About

runaway process

(a process with positive feedback so progress speeds progress)

A runaway process is a process with the characteristic that its own progress causes the process to progress faster. It is a process that incorporates positive feedback, i.e., it creates conditions which have a positive effect on its progress. It is often associated with exponential growth of something, i.e., after a unit of time, something has (minimally) grown (or shrunk) by a some constant ratio. Such a process either reaches some condition that shuts it down or it has cosmological consequences. Positive feedback and runaway processes are avoided in technological design. Examples:

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
common envelope
core collapse
dynamical instability
gravitational instability (GI)
gravitational instability model
greenhouse effect
gravitational wave (GW)
helium runaway
kappa mechanism (κ-mechanism)
mixing length theory
magnetorotational instability (MRI)
planet formation
Rossby wave instability (RWI)
thermal runaway