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Homework Help: Where does the potential energy go if a clamped spring is dissolved in acid?

  1. May 18, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    When a spring is compressed, potential energy is stored in it. If the spring is dissolved into acid; where does teh potential energy go.

    2. Relevant equations

    P.E = (1/2)*k*a^2

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I tried but got no idea about it.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2010 #2
    The potential energy of an elastically deformed body is the extra energy due to inter atomic interactions when the ions are moved from their equilibrium positions in the crystal lattice.

    When a metal reacts with an acid, we get a salt and gaseous hydrogen in molecular form. The salt is usually hydrated and totally ionized in the solution. Therefore, the end effect of this reaction is that ions of the solid have moved in the solution and hydrogen ions have received some electrons and bonded in molecules. I would guess the potential energy has converted into extra kinetic energy of the molecular motion.
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