The strong force is that which binds the protons and neurons inside the nucleus of the atom. The protons, which each have a unit positive charge, would otherwise repel reach other. Thus the bonding force has to be ‘strong’ enough to overcome the electrostatic force.
The strong force also binds the quarks together inside the proton (or neutron). The binding mechanism at this level is currently represented by quantum chromodynamics (QCD). It proposes that the quarks exchange gluon particles of three different types. These are conveniently called ‘colour’ (hence also ‘chromo’), but that should be understood as representative rather than literal. QCD is very successful, though it does have limitations. A niggly philosophical one, some might say inconsequential, is that it introduces a new ‘colour force’, which thus also needs an explanation.
It should eventually be possible to model the structure of atomic nuclei, i.e. the elements and the nuclides, from the ground up using the strong force. However that bigger problem is still unsoved, and this is a more obvious limitation of QCD. It is a big problem, because it means that we cannot yet make the connections between physics and chemistry at the fundamental level. There simply has been no traction on solving this. Which of course is strange, since the pupose of the strong force in the first place is to bind the nucleus together. So a theory that describes the one should solve the other too.
Which raises the possibility that the existing models for the strong force may be deficient. That’s a possibility that we explore in our latest work, ‘Strong interaction reconceptualised‘.
We show that it is possible to make a different case for the strong force. In this model the strong force arises from the synchronisation of discrete field elements between particules. This causes the participating particules to be interlocked: the interaction pulls or repels particules into co-location and then holds them there, hence the apparent attractive-repulsive nature of that force and its short range.
This is a different way of looking at the force. It is an efficient theory, because it does not need the force to change its nature depending on range. Also, it does not introduce any new variables or new types of force. In a later post we plan to expand on the implicat
ions of this, but for now the main point is the strong force might be better represented as a synchronisation of frequency between two particles, rather than the exchange of particles.