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  1. I know that free a neutron breaks into a proton because a proton has less mass and energy. Then, why do protons not break into quarks, since they have even less energy?

  2. Or why do gluons join quarks?

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  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_confinement $\endgroup$ – user83548 Dec 14 '15 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_decay $\endgroup$ – user83548 Dec 14 '15 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ " In the Standard Model, protons, a type of baryon, are theoretically stable because baryon number ( quark number) is conserved (under normal circumstances; however, see chiral anomaly ). Therefore, protons will not decay into other particles on their own, because they are the lightest (and therefore least energetic) baryon." It is unsatisfactory $\endgroup$ – Anubhav Goel Dec 14 '15 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ unsatisfactory is that you had not read the link color confinement which was essentially the answer you accepted $\endgroup$ – user83548 Dec 14 '15 at 17:19
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When you say quarks "have even less energy," I assume you mean less mass-energy. While quarks individually have less mass-energy than a proton, three separated quarks have more energy than a proton. The quarks attract and bond to each other to reach a low energy state, and breaking that bond requires an energy input - which, ironically, supplies the necessary energy for a new set of quarks to form. So if you try to split a particle into a quark-antiquark pair by supplying energy, you just end up with two particles instead.

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