Conservation of energy
Here's a little thought experiment that occurred to me a couple of days ago, which I can't figure out...
Take a spring, made of something that can be dissolved in a suitable solvent, and a clamp, made of something that's non-soluble in the aforementioned solvent, that can be used to hold the spring in a compressed state.
Compress the spring, apply the clamp and immerse the lot in the solvent.
The spring, whilst held in its compressed state by the clamp, is storing the energy used to compress it.
So what happens to the energy stored in the compressed spring once the spring has been dissolved by the solvent?
It would seem most likely that the energy is transferred to the solvent, but in what form and by what mechanism?