Originally posted by tim88
So we don't know then. ok thanks fellas
So far the smallest actual particle is the quark, it takes three of them just to make up even ONE of the particles we formerly thought of as elementary particles like electrons, neutrons, protons and so forth.
There are newer theories that say even the quark is made up of nothing but even smaller vibrating strings of one sort or another.
And below that level there is the Quantum soup underlying the whole shmere of our world, where a quantum soup is like a boiling pot of water and off the surface comes other particles that did not exist the moment before, flashing in and out of existence in a tiny fraction of a billionth of a second.
One already measured effect of that is the Coriolis effect or force which was postulated by a scientists, strangely enough named Coriolis, that the quantum underpinnings will make for particles flashing in and out of existence like flecks of water thrown up and down on the surface of a wave on the ocean. This makes a measurable force which tends to drive two surfaces together if they are close enough and smooth enough to actually get close enough without touching. This force has actually been measured in the lab and is not electrical, magnetic or gravitation, strong force, weak force, none of that. A totally different ball of wax having ONLY to do with the quantum underpinnings of our universe where there is a universal sea of chaotic quantum fluctuations that makes particles come and go on an incredibly small time scale and the particles produced can be matter, antimatter, quarks, strings, all the underlying stuff of our normal universe.
A quick explanation of that force: as two very smooth plates, could be plastic, could be metal, could be rock, the main thing is it is ordinary matter, extremely smooth and very thin, two sheets like thin shim stock placed close enough together without touching, something happens in between the sheets that lowers the amount of flash particles coming into existence and so there is more force on the other side of the sheets where particles are coming and going at its normal rate.
So on one side of the sheet less particles come about and the result is a real force pushing the two plates together. It is the result of a kind of quantum vacuum happening between the plates while the normal pressure on the other side makes a differential force causing the plates to move together, like they say, nature abhors a vacuum and will do anything it can to get rid of it