1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data According to the molecular biology book I am reading, when a chemical bond breaks, the energy in the bond is released in the form of heat. which is to say, when a chemical bond breaks the entire atom's speed increases (the atom gains 'heat energy'). But what is happening at the electron/proton level to make this happen? 2. Relevant equations 3. The attempt at a solution I am trying to imagine this in my mind, say for a covalent bond. This is the best theory I have been able to come up with. 1) An electron is physically located between the two nuclei of the atoms it is being shared by. 2) the electron that is being shared by the two atoms is further away from each of the nuclei in the atoms than it would be from the nuclei in a lone atom, as the protons in the two nuclei repel each other electrically. 2) When the bond breaks, the nucleus of the remaining atom moves closer to the bonding electron, since it is no longer being electrically repelled by the protons of the other nucleus. ergo, physcial movement of the atom increases (ie, the atom speeds up, ie, experiences heating) when the chemical bond breaks. Is this right, or am I completely out in left field? And so if this is true, sometimes, statistically, the atom would actually slow down instead of speed up, cause the nucleus would move 180 degrees out from the direction it happens to be travelling.