Bond Energy

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

The second kind of energy that’s important in the kitchen is the energy of the chemical bonds that hold molecules together. When two or more atoms become a molecule by sharing electrons and bonding with each other, they’re pulled together by an electrical force. So in the process of forming the bond, some of their electrical energy is transformed into energy of motion. And the stronger the electrical force, the more rapidly they accelerate toward each other. The stronger the bond, the more energy is released—lost—from the molecule in the form of motion. Strong bonds, then, “contain” less energy than weak bonds. This is another way of saying that they are more stable, less susceptible to change, than weak bonds.