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Strong and Weak Nuclear Force

Strong Nuclear Force
The strong nuclear force binds protons and neutrons in a nucleus. It is evident that without some attractive force, a nucleus will be unstable due to the electric repulsion between its protons. This attractive force cannot be gravitational since force of gravity is negligible compared to the electric force. A new basic force must, therefore, be invoked.

The strong nuclear force is the strongest of all fundamental forces, about 100 times the electromagnetic force in strength. It is charge-independent and acts equally between a proton and a proton, a neutron and a neutron, and a proton and a neutron. Its range is, however, extremely small, of about nuclear dimensions (10–15m). It is responsible for the stability of nuclei. The electron, it must be noted, does not experience this force.

Recent developments have, however, indicated that protons and neutrons are built out of still more elementary constituents called quarks.

Weak Nuclear Force
The weak nuclear force appears only in certain nuclear processes such as the β -decay of a nucleus. In β -decay, the nucleus emits an electron and an uncharged particle called neutrino. The weak nuclear force is not as weak as the gravitational force, but much weaker than the strong nuclear and electromagnetic forces. The range of weak nuclear force is exceedingly small, of the order of 10-16 m.

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