Re: Conservation of energy
Nope, you're not helping a 14 yr old with homework and, anyway, I suspect it's a bit too subtle for a 14 yr old physics student.
Assume the spring is perfectly manufactured, so that it dissolves perfectly uniformly; at no point does the spring break, as it were; the only relaxation in the tension of the spring would come from the erosion of the material of the spring between the bounds of the clamp; I can't see this producing a degree of stirring comparable to the energy stored in the spring.
Also assume that the compression of the spring remains within the elastic region of deformation of the spring material.
Not being a chemist, I'm thinking that the reaction must be exothermic because we're not adding energy, and if a reaction takes place when we're not adding energy then it must be exothermic, with the exothermic energy that's released from the chemical process coming from the breaking of the chemical bonds in the solvent.
So how does the elastic deformation of the spring increase the energy released by the chemical reaction? That's what I can't figure out.