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# Hess - Hess's Law if a reaction is carried out in a series...

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Hess's Law if a reaction is carried out in a series of steps, H for the reaction will be equal to the sum of the enthalpy changes for the individual steps the overall enthalpy change for the process is independent of the number of steps or the particular nature of the path by which the reaction is carried out. Thus we can use information tabulated for a relatively small number of reactions to calculate H for a large number of different reactions Determining H for the reaction is difficult because some CO 2 is also typically produced. However, complete oxidation of either C or CO to yield CO 2 is experimentally pretty easy to do: We can invert reaction number 2 (making it endothermic ) and have CO(g) as a product. (This describes the decomposition of CO 2 to produce CO and O 2 ) Thus, we now have two equations with known enthalpies of reaction: the first describes the combustion of carbon and oxygen to produce CO 2 and the second describes how CO 2 can be decomposed to produce carbon monoxide (and oxygen).

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