# Questions regarding the preparation and recrystallisation of methyl 3-nitrobenzoate

I have a procedure for the synthesis of methyl 3-nitrobenzoate (via nitration of methyl benzoate):

1. Weigh 2.0 g of methyl benzoate into a dry 50 cm3 conical flask.
2. Add 4 cm3 of concentrated sulfuric acid slowly to the methyl benzoate with swirling to ensure thorough mixing. Cool this mixture by partially immersing the flask in an ice-water bath.
3. Carefully transfer 1.5 cm3 of concentrated nitric acid into a dry test tube. Cool the nitric acid by partially immersing it in an ice-water bath before slowly adding, with swirling, 1.5 cm3 of concentrated sulfuric acid. Allow this mixture to cool. This is the nitrating mixture.
4. Using the glass dropping pipette, very slowly add the nitrating mixture (over about 15 min, 1 drop every 10 seconds) to the contents of the conical flask. Stir the reaction mixture as the addition is made. During the addition keep the temperature of the reaction mixture below 6 °C.
5. Once addition is complete, allow the flask containing the reaction mixture to stand at room temperature for 15 min.
6. Carefully pour the reaction mixture onto a small amount (approx. 20 g) of crushed ice held in a beaker. Stir the crushed ice throughout. Solid methyl 3-nitrobenzoate will form.
7. Allow the ice to melt and filter under suction. Wash the crude product with a little ice-cold water.

I have two questions:

• Firstly, why does the conical flask need to be in an ice bath when adding $\ce{H2SO4}$ to methyl benzoate?

• Secondly, why is ethanol used for recrystallisation?

Can't we just heat the mixture of methyl 3-nitrobenzoate after the nitrating mixture has been added?