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The strong force keeps also the protons together in the nucleus, despite their mutual electrostatic repulsion.
Contemporary Physics Education Project

The Nuclear Force

The protons in the nucleus of an atom have a positive charge. If protons come near each other, they are usually pushed apart by the electromagnetic force. (Remember, opposite charges attract, but like charges repel!).

If two or more nuclei (and the protons in those nuclei) come VERY close together, the nuclear force comes into play. The nuclear force wants the protons to come together. The nuclear force is stronger than the electromagnetic force so the nuclear force may be able to "glue" the nuclei together so fusion can happen.

The nuclear force is also known as the strong force. This is one of the fundamental forces in the Universe.

The nuclear force keeps together the most basic of elementary particles, the quarks. Quarks come together to form the protons in the atomic nucleus.


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