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It's generally said that a diamond is the hardest substance known to man (apparently there are a few materials known to be harder).

However, one ought to expect that a proton or neutron should be harder than diamond. Can we theoretically put quantify how much harder?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Aaron Stevens, John Rennie, Kyle Kanos, Jon Custer, ZeroTheHero Jan 17 at 16:27

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure the question makes practical sense. Measures of hardness for macroscopic objects like samples of diamond depend on pressing the sample with another macroscopic object, which is not something that you can do with a individual nucleon. Nor can you trivially re-phrase the question in terms of, say, stiffness of the equation of state because there is no unique answer for a proton. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jan 17 at 3:41
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    $\begingroup$ The hardness of materials is a measure of the yield stress, which is related to the chemical bonds in the material. A single proton does not have a yield stress so it doesn't have a hardness. $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Jan 17 at 6:45
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    $\begingroup$ I consider both comments above to be answers... $\endgroup$ – stafusa Jan 17 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ I think maybe you are comparing with graphene but that thing is made of a single layer of carbon atoms. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Jan 17 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee: I think it's a matter of theoretical ingenuity. After all we talk about tempratures in the billions but obviously there is no theremoeter than can directly measure such temperatures. $\endgroup$ – Mozibur Ullah Jan 17 at 17:13
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One cannot generalize the concept of hardness to a single proton in a meaningful, or at least unique way.

John Rennie:

The hardness of materials is a measure of the yield stress, which is related to the chemical bonds in the material. A single proton does not have a yield stress so it doesn't have a hardness.

dmckee:

Not sure the question makes practical sense. Measures of hardness for macroscopic objects like samples of diamond depend on pressing the sample with another macroscopic object, which is not something that you can do with a individual nucleon. Nor can you trivially re-phrase the question in terms of, say, stiffness of the equation of state because there is no unique answer for a proton.

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