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I have a mixture of $\ce{Et2O},$ $\ce{EtOH}$ and water, and I want to distill off the ether. I am using a water bath so not much water is distilled over, as the boiling water is 100 °C, and the solvent has like 20 °C lower temp than the water bath working temp, I believe.

So, my point is, is it safe and reasonable to make a bath with 95% ethyl alcohol to prevent much $\ce{EtOH}$ evaporation without needing to closely keep track of the temperature?

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    $\begingroup$ No, it's not a good idea. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Aug 17 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, but why not? $\endgroup$ – user81922 Aug 17 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ Well, that depends if you try to make a safe experiment, or explosion. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Aug 17 at 23:26
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It would be extremely dangerous to use a flammable solvent for a heat bath because any spill on the hot plate (or even worse, a Bunsen burner) could cause a fire.

If you want to distill off ether, it is by far better to just use warm water from a tap or a kettle, and replace your hot bath regularly.

Trust me, ether can spontaneously catch fire VERY easily ! I have been there!

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  • $\begingroup$ I get you, but I am distilling about 100ml of ether in a really well ventilated area. I am not blowing my self. I get it though, it is a fire hazard... $\endgroup$ – user81922 Aug 18 at 17:36
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Such distillation is done every day in great quantities in closed ( air free) stills ; they are called refineries and chemical plants.

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