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RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RHYS LEWIS, AHS, DECD, UNISA / EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Subatomic nuclear forces. Animation showing the internal structure and forces of an atomic nucleus. Atomic nuclei consist of protons (red) and neutrons (yellow), which are examples of subatomic particles called baryons. Protons carry a positive charge and neutrons carry no charge. Normally, electromagnetic repulsion, one of the fundamental forces of nature, would force the protons apart. At the extremely small scale of the atomic nucleus, a different force dominates, one called the strong nuclear force. This force is 100 times stronger than electromagnetism and binds the neutrons and protons and their constituent elements together in the atomic nucleus. The animation shows the fundamental particles called quarks that make up the protons and neutrons. A proton consists of two up quarks ('u') and one down quark ('d'). A neutron consists of one up quark and two down quarks. The final stage of the animation highlights the electromagnetic repulsion that is overcome by the strong nuclear force.
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