# Understanding the Delicate Balance Between Forces in Nuclear Physics

• endeavour
In summary, the conversation discusses the relationship between the electrostatic repulsion and strong force between two protons and two nucleons at different distances of separation. The question is asking about the equilibrium separation and what would happen if two neutrons were changed into protons. The strong force is much stronger than the electrostatic force, and the graph represents the force between two protons at different separations, with the specific number being able to be calculated.
endeavour
The question is in the attachment..

My thoughts were that between 2 protons, there's obviously going to be higher electrostatic repulsion, so a higher attractive strong force is needed (to keep the protons together), than with 2 nucleons. But the highest strong force is when separation is low, but that's also when the electrostatic repuslion would be great?

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The question is asking about the equilibrium separation. Suppose you had two neutrons in equlibrium (separation $$\displaystyle{x_0}$$), and you could change them into protons. What would happen?

The strong force is called the strong force because it really is strong- way stronger than the electrostatic force. If I am reading the graph correctly, it represents force in units of kiloNewtons as a function of separation. What would the force between two protons be if separted by $$x_0$$? That is a number you can work out.

Your thoughts are on the right track. In nuclear physics, there is a delicate balance between the strong nuclear force and the electrostatic force. The strong nuclear force is responsible for holding protons and neutrons together in the nucleus, while the electrostatic force is responsible for the repulsion between positively charged protons.

As you mentioned, the strong force is strongest at very small distances, but at these distances, the electrostatic repulsion is also very strong. This is why larger nuclei tend to be less stable, as the electrostatic repulsion between protons becomes stronger and overcomes the strong nuclear force, causing the nucleus to break apart.

In the case of two protons, the electrostatic repulsion is indeed greater, and therefore a stronger attractive force is needed to keep them together. This is why the strong nuclear force is stronger in smaller nuclei, as it needs to overcome the larger electrostatic repulsion.

Overall, the delicate balance between these two forces is what determines the stability and properties of different nuclei, and it is an important aspect of nuclear physics.

## 1. What is nuclear physics?

Nuclear physics is the study of the properties and behavior of atomic nuclei, including their structure, reactions, and interactions with other particles.

## 2. What are the main applications of nuclear physics?

Nuclear physics has various applications in fields such as energy production, medicine, and materials science. It is also used in nuclear weapons and space propulsion technologies.

## 3. How does nuclear energy work?

Nuclear energy is produced through nuclear reactions, either fission (splitting of an atomic nucleus) or fusion (combining two atomic nuclei). The energy released from these reactions is converted into heat, which is then used to generate electricity.

## 4. What are the potential dangers of nuclear power?

Nuclear power has the potential to cause environmental damage and human health risks if not properly managed. Accidents, such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima, have highlighted the dangers of nuclear power. There are also concerns about the long-term storage and disposal of nuclear waste.

## 5. How is nuclear physics research advancing?

Nuclear physics research is constantly evolving and advancing with new technologies and techniques. Scientists are studying the properties of rare and exotic nuclei, exploring new methods for nuclear energy production, and investigating applications in medicine and materials science. The field is also working towards developing safer and more sustainable nuclear technologies.

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