- The neutron-fission chain reaction: a neutron plus a fissionable atom causes a fission resulting in a larger number of neutrons than was consumed in the initial reaction.
- Chemical reactions, where a product of a reaction is itself a reactive particle which can cause more similar reactions. For example, every step of H2 + Cl2 chain reaction consumes one molecule of H2 or Cl2, one free radical H· or Cl· producing one HCl molecule and another free radical.
- Electron avalanche process: Collisions of free electrons in a strong electric field forming "new" electrons to undergo the same process in successive cycles.
- In linguistics, language change is seen as the gradual outcome of chain reactions and subject to cyclic drift.
- Nuclear chain reaction
- Polymerase chain reaction
- Markov chain
- Rube Goldberg machine
- Butterfly effect
- Thermal runaway