What Is Strong Nuclear Force And Weak Nuclear Force? [TOP ANSWER!]

One of the basic features in physics is the occurrence of forces that keep matter together. There are for example, the forces that keep the cells together to build up the human body, and there is the gravitational force that keeps us on the ground and the moon in orbit around the earth. We can ourselves exert forces when we push something and, by engineering, get some of the energy content in oil to produce a force on the wheels of a car to move it. From the macroscopic point of view we can imagine many different kinds of forces, forces that act at impact but also forces that act over a distance such as the gravitational one. In physics, though, we try to systematise and to find as many general concepts as possible. One such systematisation is to find out the ultimate constituents of matter. Another is to find out the forces that act between them. In the first case, we have been able to divide up matter into atoms and the atoms into nuclei and electrons, and then the nuclei into protons and neutrons. By colliding protons with protons or protons with electrons, particle physicists have uncovered that all matter can be built from a number of quarks (a concept introduced by Murray Gell-Mann in the 60’s) and leptons (electrons and neutrinos and their heavier cousins) 😎 In the same process physicists have uncovered four basic forces that act between these matter particles – gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong and the weak nuclear force 😉 Only the first two can be directly seen in the macroscopic world so let us first describe them. [1]
The strong force is odd, though, because unlike any of the other fundamental forces, it gets weaker as subatomic particles move closer together. It actually reaches maximum strength when the particles are farthest away from each other, according to Fermilab (opens in new tab). Once within range, massless charged bosons called gluons transmit the strong force between quarks and keep them “glued” together. A tiny fraction of the strong force called the residual strong force acts between protons and neutrons. Protons in the nucleus repel one another because of their similar charge, but the residual strong force can overcome this repulsion, so the particles stay bound in an atom’s nucleus (opens in new tab). (thank you to Jehu Sherrill from Jinzhong, China for highlighting this). [2]
Image #2
To understand what this, and the weak force, is all about, we first need to mention the strong nuclear force. The strong force binds the fundamental particles known as quarks together to form particles such as the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus. Protons and neutrons are both composites of three quarks of two types, or “flavoursrr”, up and down. Protons have the configuration up-up-down, and neutrons up-down-down. So if the strong force binds quarks together, it becomes apparent that the weak force allows them to change flavoursrr for example switching a down quark to an up quark or vice versa in beta decay. (last emended 88 days ago by Aprilmarie Jung from Heze, China) [3]
Image #3
Newscientist.com also mentions that on subatomic scales of about 1 femtometre, or 10-15m , it is by far the strongest of the four forces, 137 times stronger than electromagnetism, and a million times stronger than the weak interaction. (Gravity is so weak as to be entirely irrelevant on these scales.) The fact that it is insignificant on larger scales is the paradoxical effect of an odd strong-force quirk. The photon, which transmits the electromagnetic force, has no electrical charge, but the particles known as gluons that transmit the strong force do carry the equivalent strong-force “colorcharge”. They therefore participate in their own force and can interact with themselves. (modified by Stephanie Roberts from Gothenburg, Sweden on January 4, 2020) [4]

Article References

  1. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/themes/forces/
  2. https://www.space.com/four-fundamental-forces.html
  3. https://www.newscientist.com/definition/weak-nuclear-force/
  4. https://www.newscientist.com/definition/strong-nuclear-force/
Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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