Is no one here allowed to ask a question in an area in which they are not a professional? I have asked this question to 3 chemists and 2 physicists, no one was able to answer it even after more than 60 min each. I'm not a chemist myself (just a mathematician), but I didn't ask this question until I had done considerable research. Do you seriously think this is a homework question?

Energy values of steam reformation, water gas shift, hydrogen and methane burning seem to not add up correctly


2 Answers 2


You missed an important point, which is why your calculation led you to ask the question. Note the first comment you received:

Make sure to account for whether H2O is liquid or gas

This describes the solution.

There is nothing wrong with that. The problem is partly in people's interpretation of "homework". It has a broader meaning on this site which is still debated. The type of question you asked might be considered elementary. The point you missed would (or should) be known to someone taking introductory chem, when Hess's law is usually introduced, or to anyone who claims to be a physicist or chemist. You even understood the problem with the violation of the conservation of energy that the incongruous accounting implied.

Questions involving Hess's law are very frequent on this site, and some (too many) are poorly formulated and closed. Whether they (or yours) should be closed is a continuing source of debate on the site. However, the rules are such that a democratic voting process allows closure when sufficient participants regard a post as not having sufficiently examined existing questions on the site, for instance.

Note that this is considered an opportunity to edit the question, and if the edits are considered sufficient, the post might be reopened (usually by another democratic voting process).

In any case, I do recommend you find better trained physicists and chemists to ask for help next time.


Is no one here allowed to ask a question in an area in which they are not a professional?

Everyone in allowed. It helps to add a sentence about your background so that the level of the answers is useful to you.

Do you seriously think this is a homework question?

No, homework questions would include the physical state of the reactants and products. However, five individuals on the site voted to close. Close votes include picking a reason from a menu:

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The site-specific reasons have another menu:

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If they had known you sat down with five scientists for a total of 5 hours, they might not have felt that more research might have allowed you to find the answer on your own.

On the pragmatic side, there is an answer, and I would think it resolves the discrepancy. If there are further conceptual questions (like the subtleties of the "incorrect" physical state at a given temperature), it would be fine to ask about those in a separate question. It would also be fine to accept the answer if the case is closed.


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