Nuclear Physics - Is There a Strong Nuclear Force?

A careful analysis of NIST atomic weight data seems to suggest that there may not be a Strong Nuclear Force! All of the observed data seems to represent second-order equations, which seems to suggest that standard electrostatic forces may be acting. For example, a very simple second order equation:
Total Mass Defect = k1 + k2 * A - k3 * (A - k4)2
gives good Mass Defects, and therefore atomic weights for virtually all stable isotopes. A similar simple second order term may be added to apply to all unstable isotopes.

This situation suggests that the electrons, if described as moving, would need to traverse a cycle of three segments, or around 2.5 * 10-13 cm in a period no longer than 1.2 * 10-22 seconds, which implies a minimum velocity of around 2 * 10+9 cm/sec, about 1/15 the speed of light. This is interesting in that, should it be a higher velocity, then relativistic velocities of the electrons would increase their mass and possibly affect the reasoning regarding the mass defect and many other effects.

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There are a variety of ways the electrons might actually move within the nucleus. A more generalized form of the above argument involves taking the time integral of the attraction between each proton and the electron during whatever path is followed. For most geometries of electron movement, the resulting effect is a slight reduction of the net attractive force. The initial (migrate) argument above would have had too much attractive force for stability, and effects such as this might ensure that the time-average of the attraction exactly equals the time-average of the proton-proton repulsion, in making a stable nucleus. A discussion below will consider the situations where there are more or less than an optimal number of electrons within the nucleus, and the effects on stability, on the half-life and the radioactive decay schemes.

However, notice that the steepness of the slopes becomes less for heavier atomic weights. This lower slope suggests less tendency to have beta decay. This is borne out by experimental evidence, where virtually all low weight nuclei decay through beta decay while heavy nuclei rarely have beta decay. These graphs suggest that heavier nuclei might actually have beta decay, but the associated half-life is much longer than the half-life associated with alpha decay. Similar graphs where adjoining graph points are deltaZ=2 and deltaA=4, show an opposite trend, confirming that alpha decay should predominate for heavy atomic weights and, in general, not even be possible for low atomic weights.

This presentation was first placed on the Internet in November 2003.