Here is a post that discusses the fundamental particles, including quarks, but I’ll do some quick bullet points for you as well.
- Quarks and leptons are the basic building blocks of matter (There are antiquarks and antileptons as well, but we’ll get to that later).
- Quarks combine to form particles known as mesons (a quark and an antiquark) and baryons (three quarks). Baryons include protons and neutrons.
- There are six types (called “flavors”) of quark: Up, Down, Charm, Strange, Top, and Bottom. Each flavor has a different charge. Only up and down quarks have been observed in nature; the rest have only been made in particle accelerators.
- Every flavor of quark has a corresponding “antiquark” which has the opposite charge (So, an up quark will have a charge of +2/3 while a down quark will have a charge of -2/3).
- Protons and neutrons are only made of up and down quarks. A proton has 2 up and 1 down, while a neutron has 1 up and 2 down.
- These up and down quarks are held together by gluons, which are particles that carry the strong force.
- Mesons, as I mentioned earlier, are composed of a quark and an antiquark. Because they are composed of a quark and its antimatter component, they exist only momentarily and destroy themselves rather quickly. Their decay leaves behind only energy.
Hopefully that helped break things down…there’s a lot more but this could get very long and tiresome to read if I tried to include everything!