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I had learned that what keeps the protons and neutrons bound is the strong force and the weak force has to do with radioactive decay. but today I read an article from Science Daily that contradicts this. Here is the quote: “Protons and neutrons are made of smaller particles called quarks that are bound together by the strong interaction, which is one of the four known forces of nature: strong force, electromagnetism, weak force and gravity. The weak force exists in the tiny distance within and between protons and neutrons; the strong interaction confines quarks in neutrons and protons.” Can this be clarified by the community? Thanks!

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    $\begingroup$ It is saying the weak force can exist between protons, neutrons and quarks but it isn't saying it is the force that holds them together. $\endgroup$ – H.Linkhorn Dec 20 '18 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ This is outside the realm of chemistry and would be more appropriate on Physics SE $\endgroup$ – Tyberius Dec 20 '18 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Tyberius - I'll skip my usual comment about Glenn Seaborg, the field of nuclear chemistry, and winning chemistry Nobel prizes... (Or not as it may be!). $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Dec 20 '18 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ While I don't like closing nuclear questions, because it is about particle, structure, not related to reactions, I am inclined to say this is off topic in regards to chemistry and better suited for Physics.SE. $\endgroup$ – A.K. Dec 20 '18 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JonCuster I don't mean to deny nuclear the existence of nuclear chemistry, but I think when you get into discussing quarks, you are no longer dealing with chemistry. Really, I would say a lot of the more recent transuranium elements synthesized are borderline chemistry at this point because their short lifetime has basically precluded analysis of their chemical properties, at least for the time being. $\endgroup$ – Tyberius Dec 20 '18 at 19:54
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I think it is a poor phrasing. The strong force is responsible for keeping quarks together inside a proton or a neutron, but also between quarks belonging to different proton/neutron (but I am not sure for proton-proton interaction because of the repulsive electromagnetic force).

By contrast, the weak force is responsible for turning one type of quarks into another type or quarks, thus transforming a proton into a neutron in the case of beta+ radioactive decay, with emission of a positron (the overall charge is always conserved).

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