This is just an interesting question a friend's uncle asked me that I was somewhat annoyed I couldn't answer.
When a material dissolves in acid there is a chemical process that causes the changes in state/composition of the materials in question. There will be a change in energy due to chemical bonds forming/breaking and potentially a change in temperature.
So we take a spring and compress it in a clamp. Obviously now there is a potential energy based on the compression of the spring as well as the chemical energy within the spring itself before compression.
This is now placed into a bath of acid that will dissolve the spring but not the clamp.
There is a change of energy based on the dissolving of the spring, but what happens to the potential energy due to it being compressed?
My thoughts were that in a realistic situation one (weak) point on the spring would be attacked, break, it would then probably just ping out of the clamp and lose the energy that way.
But in the ideal scenario where is dissolves at a uniform rate, this wouldn't happen, so what happens at the instant that it is completely dissolved? This is obviously a massive assumption, so would be unlikely to be true. I thought maybe some kind of change of temperature would occur, due to the assumption that the compression would cause the atoms to be more tightly compacted causing a repulsion. As you remove layers this would gradually decrease, but there is still an inherent increase in energy for each atom, so this would most likely be expelled as something (like) heat.
What are people's thoughts on this?
I'm mainly interested in the detail of the mechanisms for the energy tranfers on an atomic level as opposed to the broad picture. Specifically the transfer from coulomb repulsion to heat in the acid. The more low-level detail the better.