San José State University
Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
& Tornado Alley

On the Conservation of Nucleonic
Charge in Neutron Decay

Neutrons in nuclei are generally stable, but an isolated neutron decays into a proton and an electron.

The half-life of this decay is 10 to 15 minutes. A neutron has a greater mass than that of a proton. Some of that mass difference shows up in the mass of the emitted electron, but the electron carries off energy as well as mass. There is a distribution of the energy of the electron and physicists noted that not all of the lost mass-energy of the neutron was being accounted. Either the principle of the conservation of energy had to be abandoned or there was something in the neutron decay that was not being taken into account. Wolfgang Pauli suggested that there was a neutral particle that carrying off energy. Enrico Fermi suggested that Pauli's hypothesized particle be called the little neutral one, in Italian the neutrino. That is what it was known as for decades, but now it is called the electron anti-neutrino.

n → p + e + νe

The conventional theory of what holds nuclei together is that all protons and neutrons are attracted to each other with an equal force called the nuclear strong force. When this model is used to try to explain the binding energies of nuclei through regression analysis it is found that all but one of the signs of the regression coefficients are wrong.

There is an alternative to the conventional theory. In that theory the primary thing hold a nucleus together is the spin pairing of nucleons; proton with proton, neutron with neutron and proton with neutron. However spin pairing is exclusive in the sense that one neutron can pair with one other neutron and with one proton and that is all. The same holds for protons.

This means that in a nucleus there will be sequences of the form -p-n-n-p- (or equivalently -n-p-p-n-). These modules can form change chains and the chains can close forming rings. The smallest such ring is an alpha particle. Because this, the modules -p-n-n-p- are called alpha modules and the model is the alpha module ring model of nuclear structure. The rings rotate in several different modes such like a wheel and flipping like a coin. The rotations take place at very, very high rates. The result is that a nucleus appears to consist of concentric shells of nucleons.

But in addition to the attractive force associated with spin pairing there is a non-exclusive force involved in the interaction of nucleons. This force is based upon nucleons having a nucleonic charge hence like-nucleons are repelled from each other and unlike-nucleons are attracted to each other. If the nucleonic charge of a proton is taken to be 1 then the best estimate of the nucleonic charge of a neutron is −2/3.

The conventional term of nuclear strong force is not appropriate because it conflates the force associated with nuclear spin pairing and the force associated with the interactions due to the nucleonic charges. This latter force is not all that strong compared to the spin pairing force and the spin pairing force is not a field force.

When the Alpha Module Rings model of nuclear structure is used to statistically explain the binding energies of nuclides a regression equation is obtained which has a coefficient of determination (R²) of 0.99995. All of the regression coefficients have the right signs and relative magnitudes. When the convention model of nuclear structure is used to obtain a regression equation the R² value is 0.93 but all but one of the regression coefficients have the wrong sign.

The Source of the Nucleonic Charge
From the Constituent Quarks

A proton is considered to consist of two up quarks and one down quark. A neutron consists of one up quark and two down quarks. Let u and d be the nucleonic charges of an up quark and a down quark, respectively. Then

2u +d =1
u + 2d = −2/3

If the first equation is multiplied by 2 and the second equation subtracted from the result then

3u = 8/3
and hence
u = 8/9


d = 1 −16/9 = − 7/9

These particular fractions are somewhat of a surprise but they are equivalent to saying the nucleonic charge of the up quark is a positive 8 units and that of the down quark isa negative seven units. This would make the nucleonic charge of a proton a positive nine units and that of a neutron a negative six units.

The Conservation or Non-conservation
of the Nucleonic Charge in Neutron Decay

In the decay of a neutron the input to the reaction has a nucleonic charge of −2/3 and the output has a nucleonic charge of positive one. Therefore unless something else is involved there is a nonconservation of negative nucleonic charge.

There seems to be only four possibilities.

(To be continued.)

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