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Hess' law states that a specific reaction is equal to the sum of the enthalpies of any set of reactions equal to the specific reaction. This means that if you have the enthalpies for reactions that can be added together to make another reaction, you can add the enthalpies together to find the net enthalpy of the new reaction.
Hess's Law states that enthalpy is a state function, so the total change in enthalpy after a specific reaction will be the same regardless of the number of steps taken to achieve that reaction or how much work was involved. If you add together the change in enthalpy at each step, you will get the total change in enthalpy. It was likened to altitude in class. No matter how much work it took to get to that height, the height itself is the same.
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