Purpose – The decay of the neutron well known from the perspective of empirical quantification, but the ontological explanations are lacking for why the neutron should be stable within the nucleus and unstable outside. Method – The non-local hidden-variable (NLHV) solution provided by the discrete forces of the Cordus theory is applied to the beta decay processes to predict the NLHV structures of the W bosons, and propose the deeper mechanisms for decay of the free neutron and stability of the bonded neutron. Findings - The stability of the neutron inside the nucleus is found to arise from the formation of a complementary bound state with the proton. The neutron is an intermediary between the protons, as the discrete forces of the protons are otherwise incompatible. This bond also gives a full complement of discrete forces to the neutron, hence its stability within the nucleus. The instability of the free neutron arises because its own discrete field structures are incomplete. Consequently it is vulnerable to external perturbation. The theory predicts the free neutron has two separate decay paths, which are mixed together in the β- process, the first determined by the local density of the fabric, and the second by the number of neutrinos encountered. The exponential life is recovered. The internal structures of the W bosons are determined. Implications – Contrary to conventional theory, it is shown that under this NLHV framework the W bosons are merely by-products from the weak decay process, and do not cause the decay. The weak decay is shown to be in the same class of phenomenon as annihilation, and is not a fundamental interaction. Originality – A NLHV mechanics has been constructed at a deeper level to quantum theory, and gives better ontological explanations of the decay process.
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