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1. The process by which radiant energy is absorbed and converted into other forms of energy. See attenuation.
Absorption takes place only after the radiant flux enters a medium and thus acts only on the entering flux not on the incident flux, some of which may be reflected at the surface of the medium. A substance which absorbs energy may also be a medium of refraction, diffraction, or scattering; these processes, however, involve no energy retention or transformation and are to be clearly differentiated from absorption.
2. In general, the taking up or assimilation of one substance by another. See sorption, adsorption.

3. In vacuum technology, gas entering into the interior of a solid.


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use