# How to think about color charged objects

When imagining color charged objects, I know we can treat color and anti-color much like electromagnetism. What I'm having trouble with is imagining the interaction of similarly coloured objects. Now I know red green and blue are just convenient labels and by definition of gauge symmetry, aren't different from on another in any way physically. But once we have a basis, how should I think about these 3 independant color charges behaving with eachother?

Lastly, are there any good ways to think about the charge of gluons? They have a color charge behaving differently from quarks or anti-quarks (color and anti-color) so is there anyway to think about this object in analogy to other familiar things?

For what it's worth, I have the mathematical background to do the math, but building intuition is much harder.

• You can visualize the action of $\lambda_3$ or $\lambda_8$ on two similarly colored triplet members? Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:24
• How do you think of even the PaulI matrices operating on spinors, in physical terms? Personally, I don't even try, as my assumptions are invariably wrong, ( and it hurts my head. ) +1, tho, related: quora.com/…
– user214814
Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 20:48

1. There can be no classical analogy for the behaviour of the color-charged objects of QCD because classical Yang-Mills theories behave very differently from quantum Yang-Mills theories in the low-energy regime. This is because theories like QCD become strongly coupled at low energies, and the factor appearing in front of the quantum corrections of a Yang-Mills theory is $$g_\text{YM}^2\hbar$$, so they do not become irrelevant even if we treat $$\hbar$$ as small. That is, even if you understood how color-charged objects behave in a classical theory, this would be of little use to understand what is going on in QCD.