# Attraction between positive charge and negative charge

1. Mar 14, 2004

### darkar

Opposite charge always attract and same charge repel each other.
Will proton and electron crash on each other? What will happen if they do so?

2. Mar 15, 2004

### mathman

In describing what goes on between a proton and an electron at this level, you have to work with energy levels. The hydrogen atom at its lowest energy is lower in energy than a neutron. As a result, when electrons and protons get close, they form hydrogen atoms.

3. Mar 15, 2004

### Janitor

There are a couple of interesting modes of radioactivity which involve the sort of thing you are asking about. Look for "electron capture" and "internal conversion" on this page:

4. Apr 14, 2004

### garytse86

my teacher said that the neutron is actually a proton and an electron orbitting it within planck distance

5. Apr 14, 2004

### ZapperZ

Staff Emeritus

There are several things you can tell this person that leads to indications that this isn't the right model for the neutron:

1. The LOWEST energy level for a proton-electron system is that found in the hydrogen atom. If an electron can get any closer to the proton to form that neutron model, then we would have seen lots and lots of H atom coverting itself into neutrons. This doesn't happen. This is because there's simply no states available for an electron to occupy within the single-electron energy level.

2. A proton has spin of 1/2. An electron has a spin of 1/2. But a neutron ALSO has a spin of 1/2. How does two 1/2's make 1/2? A system consisting of two spin 1/2 can produce a composite system with spin of 0 or 1, but NOT 1/2.

3. Your teacher should know by now not mislead people into thinking that an electron actually have classical "orbits", dispite the recent article in Nature.

Zz.

Last edited: Apr 14, 2004
6. Apr 28, 2004

### clint

The neutron by itself decays thanks to the weak force, the electron itself does not decay thanks to charge conservation, but ... a proton alone ?

7. Apr 29, 2004

### arivero

Decay where? I mean, decay is always towards a less energetical state.

Hmm in some sense a proton does not decay, but four protons decay into Helium, with this criteria of my own... should I reshape it?