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Fundamental force acting between elementary particles of matter, mainly quarks. The strong force binds quarks together in clusters to form protons and neutrons and heavier short-lived particles. It holds together the atomic nucleus and underlies interactions among all particles containing quarks. In strong interactions, quarks exchange gluons, carriers of the strong force, which are massless particles with one unit of intrinsic spin. Within its short range (about 1015 m), the strong force appears to become stronger with distance. At such distances, the strong interaction between quarks is about 100 times greater than the electromagnetic force.
Variants of STRONG FORCE
strong force or strong nuclear force
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on strong force, visit Britannica.com.