It's being said that the explosive property of nitrogen-containing compounds comes mainly not from release of heat, but from the fact that a few molecules of solids convert to many molecules of gas. And molecules of gas tends occupy so much more space than the solid. What I'm wonder about is that it would seem that energy released when the gasses expand must already be present potential energy in some form. If the molecules as a solid are held together by forces then the forces that keep the solid held together must be equal to the magnitude of the force which gives the gas a tendency to expand. So if gas is no longer "held back," so to speak, wouldn't this imply that the forces holding it back are also released as an equivalent amount of heat energy?