Can some explain what the "Strong Force" is and how it works?

I'm having difficulty understanding Strong Force. Could someone please answer it in a detailed yet understanding way? Thanks in advance, <3

1 Answer
Feb 13, 2018

The strong nuclear force binds protons and neutrons to form atomic nuclei.


The strong nuclear force, as its name suggests is very powerful. It is also however very short ranged. It binds protons and neutrons together to form an atomic nucleus.

The electromagnetic force is long ranged. In a nucleus the electromagnetic force causes all of the protons in the nucleus to repel each other and is trying to force the nucleus apart. The strong force can only bind adjacent protons and neutrons together, but it is strong enough to keep the nucleus together.

The strong nuclear force is best explained in terms of binding energy. Atomic nuclei have less mass that their component parts. For example a Helium-4 nucleus has less mass than that of two free protons and two free neutrons. The difference in mass is the binding energy. Atomic nuclei are stable because they can only fly apart if the binding energy is replaced.

We now know that protons and neutrons are composite and made up of quarks. Protons and neutrons are each composed of three quarks which are bound together by force carrying particles called gluons. Gluons transmit a force called the colour force.

As a result we now know that the strong force doesn't actually exist. The gluons which bind the quarks in a proton or neutron also bind the quarks of one proton or neutron to the quarks in adjacent protons and neutrons.

The strong force is now often referred to as the residual strong force because it is the residual effect of of the colour force.