DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In particle physics, the strong interaction is the mechanism responsible for the strong nuclear force, one of the four fundamental interactions of nature, the others being electromagnetism, the weak interaction and gravitation. Effective only at a distance of a femtometer, it is approximately 100 times stronger than electromagnetism, a million times stronger than the weak force interaction and stronger than gravitation at that range. It ensures the stability of ordinary matter, as it confines the quark elementary particles into hadron particles, such as the proton and neutron, the largest components of the mass of ordinary matter. Furthermore, most of the mass-energy of a common proton or neutron is in the form of the strong force field energy; the individual quarks provide only about 1 percent of the mass-energy of a proton.
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