# Can you heat something at alcohol bath?

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?

• No, it's not a good idea. – Mithoron Aug 17 at 22:33
• Ok, but why not? – user81922 Aug 17 at 23:19
• Well, that depends if you try to make a safe experiment, or explosion. – Mithoron Aug 17 at 23:26

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!

• 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... – user81922 Aug 18 at 17:36

Such distillation is done every day in great quantities in closed ( air free) stills ; they are called refineries and chemical plants.