In my lab courses, we were taught to use textbooks off the shelf as elevating props to adjust the heights of heating mantles to the right height during distillations, but I was wondering if there was a safer and better way to do so? I recently used a different type of heating mantle that was like a nest and charred the cover of a textbook as well as a heat glove that I put on the second time to prevent further damage to the book.

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    $\begingroup$ The use of any flammable material like that is a hazard. You are querying the practice because you've made a correct assessment of the situation. Why haven't those in charge done the same? I hate heating mantles anyway as they tend not to have as appropriate safety cut-offs as stirrer-hotplates. $\endgroup$
    – Beerhunter
    Jun 18, 2015 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


You need to use something called a lab jack ... just search google to see what they look like. They are quite cheap too.

You should tell whoever told you to use books about lab jacks, too.

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    $\begingroup$ Wow, didn't even know these things existed. I'll notify our chemistry department materials services person. $\endgroup$
    – user9974
    Jun 18, 2015 at 5:45
  • $\begingroup$ One supplier is www.fisher.co.uk but there are many others. $\endgroup$ Jun 18, 2015 at 8:01

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