What happens to the energy of a coiled spring that is placed in a pot of acid?

12 September 2010

Question

Considering the theory that energy cannot be created or destroyed, what happens to the energy of a coiled spring that is placed in a pot of acid?

Answer

Dominic - Well when the acid dissolves it obviously the spring will break and will dislodge the acid in the pot and that will create turbulence inside the acid and that will ultimately be dissipated as heat and so the acid will heat up. Dave - Or even the atoms inside the spring, because they're being stretched, they're at a slightly higher energy - they've got more potential energy so chemically, when something rips them off it will take less energy to break that bond so theres less energy lost when you break the bond so more is left over when it reacts with the acid so you get more heat.

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