Weak Force

Fundamental Forces

Fundamental Forces

Weak interaction (often called the weak force or sometimes the weak nuclear force) is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, alongside the strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravitation. It is responsible for the radioactive decay of subatomic particles and initiates the process known as hydrogen fusion in stars. Weak interactions affect all known fermions; that is, particles whose spin (a property of all particles) is a half-integer.

In the Standard Model of particle physics the weak interaction is theorised as being caused by the exchange (i.e., emission or absorption) of W and Z bosons; and as such, is considered to be a non-contact force, like the other three forces. The best known effect of this emission is beta decay, a form of radioactivity?. The Z and W bosons are much heavier than protons or neutrons and it is the heaviness that accounts for the very short range of the weak interaction. It is termed weak because its typical field strength is several orders of magnitude less than that of both electromagnetism and the strong nuclear force. Most particles will decay by a weak interaction over time. It has one unique property – namely quark flavour changing – that does not occur in any other interaction. In addition, it breaks parity-symmetry and CP-symmetry. Quark flavour changing allows for quarks to swap their 'flavour', one of six, for another. Wkipedia, Weak Force (external link)

See Also

Electromagnetic Force
Fundamental Forces
Strong Force
Table of Forces

Page last modified on Friday 16 of August, 2013 06:14:30 MDT

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