Ethyl Ether--this is a condensed and modified version take from "Practical Organic Chemistry" by Vogel (3rd ed., 1966). A simple distillation set up is used with a magnetic heating stir plate. Use of an open flame is absolutely forbidden because of the potential to ignite and explode any stray ether vapors. The distillation set up is used except that a two holed stopper is placed in the top opening of the three-way adapter to accommodate a thermometer and a small separatory funnel. the collecting flask is packed in ice and ice cold water is coursing through the condenser.
With brisk stirring 75mL Everclear (ethanol) is poured into the reaction flask then 75mL concentrated sulfuric acid is slowly added until incorporated. The rest of the distillation apparatus is connected and the solution slowly heated to about 140 deg C. Next, 150mL Everclear is dripped in slowly so as to match the approximate distillation output that one can see condensing over into the collection flask. The temperature must remain between 140-150 deg C. After all the ethanol has been added (which should have taken approximately 90 min) the distillate that has collected is washed with 5% NaOH solution then with water (remember that the ether will form the top layer here). The ether can then be dried through sodium sulfate and used or can be distilled to purify.
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