Protons have a +1 charge. This is the same magnitude of an electron but an electron has a −1 charge. Neutrons have a 0 or no charge.
The following Wiki Article explains the process of Proton decay
Main article: Proton decay
Protons are observed to be stable
and their theoretical minimum half-life
is 1036 years. Grand unified theories
generally predict that proton decay
should take place, although experiments so far have only resulted in a lower limit of 1035 years for the proton's lifetime. In other words, proton decay has never been witnessed and the experimental lower bound on the mean proton lifetime (2.1×1029 years
) is put by the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory
However, protons are known to transform into neutrons
through the process of electron capture
. "When a high energy-proton collides with an atom, it causes the ejection of an electron from the outer layer of the atom."
:125 This process does not occur spontaneously but only when energy is supplied. The equation is:
is a proton,
is an electron
is a neutron, and
e is an electron neutrino
The process is reversible: neutrons can convert back to protons through beta decay
, a common form of radioactive decay
. In fact, a free neutron
decays this way with a mean lifetime
of about 15 minutes.