Question Video: Relative Strengths of the Four Fundamental Forces Physics • 9th Grade

List the four fundamental forces from greatest relative strength to lowest relative strength.

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Video Transcript

List the four fundamental forces from greatest relative strength to lowest relative strength.

Okay, to begin putting these forces in order of strength, let’s start by recalling what they are. In no particular order, the four fundamental forces, that is, the forces behind all other forces we observe, are gravity, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force. We want to put these forces in order from the strongest, we’ll say that’s number one, to the relatively weakest, number four.

One of the nice things about the names that have been given to these fundamental forces is that the strongest force actually has that word in its name. The strong nuclear force, which is responsible for holding the nuclei of atoms intact, acts over only very short ranges, about the diameter of an average-sized nucleus, but over those distances is more powerful than any other force.

The next strongest fundamental force is the one that the strong nuclear force needs to overcome to keep the protons in a nucleus together. These positively charged particles naturally want to repel one another via the electromagnetic force.

Now, if we’re unsure of which force goes here in the third slot, whether gravity or the weak nuclear force, it can help us to remember that the force of gravity is actually by far the weakest of these four forces. This can seem strange because, to our eyes, gravity may be the most apparent of these forces. But nonetheless, from a strength perspective, it is the weakest, by a lot. This means that our third spot will be occupied by the weak nuclear force, the force responsible for nuclear decay processes. And so from strongest to weakest, the four fundamental forces are the strong nuclear force, the electromagnetic force, the weak nuclear force, and gravity.

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