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Do the protons inside the nucleus repel each other by the electrostatic force? If they do, why doesn't the repulsion drive the protons apart so that the nuclei get disintegrated?

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Who says there is no repulsion? –  Georg May 10 '11 at 10:01
    
@Georg I can't understand how to express my question. Please pardon me and edit it. –  thecodeparadox May 10 '11 at 10:05
    
I've edited the question, assuming that I understand Abdullah's good point. –  Luboš Motl May 10 '11 at 10:10
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+1 for a perfectly reasonable question. I only wish I'd got an answer in before @Lubosh ;) –  qftme May 10 '11 at 12:09
    
what is the origin of this strong nuclear attraction? –  user4774 Aug 1 '11 at 17:31
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

There is an electrostatic repulsion between the protons in the nucleus. However, there is also an attraction due to another kind of force besides electromagnetism, namely the so-called "strong nuclear interaction".

The strong nuclear interaction ultimately boils down to the forces between the "colorful" quarks inside the protons - and neutrons. It is mediated by gluons, much like electromagnetism is mediated by photons, described by Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), much like electromagnetism is described by Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), and it acts (almost) equally on protons and neutrons.

The attractive strong nuclear interaction inside the nuclei is 1-2 orders of magnitude stronger than the repulsive electrostatic interaction which is what keeps the nuclei together despite the repulsive electrostatic force.

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Wow, awesome answer. So much information in so few lines! When forces are described in contrast to one another, you see how they resemble each other and distinguish themselves more easily. I keep waiting for some exciting and crazy news that the strong nuclear interaction is really gravity working through curled up extra spatial dimensions on the subatomic scale. And yes, as you can obviously tell I don't know much about physics :-). –  Glytzhkof Jun 29 '11 at 1:51
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Since protons are positively charged we think that they repel.....yes they repel due to electrostatic force between the protons(coulomb's law). In the similar fashion there also exists nuclear force ( nuclear binding energy) in the nucleus which balances the repulsion between the protons....so totally protons are balanced by both electrostatic force and nuclear force inside the nucleus...

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As every body attracts each other but due to earth, our attraction forces are negligible. Therefore, protons and protons, neutrons and protons attract each other We can calculate it by g=(G*m1*m2)/r*r

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protected by Qmechanic Feb 20 '13 at 13:42

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