The preparation and use of solid strong acid catalysts and superacids are active areas of research. Solid acids and superacids are reported to exhibit extremely high catalytic activities for reactions such as isomerization, cracking, hydrocracking, dehydration, alkylation, acylation, conversion of methanol to gasoline, and so forth. Recent research in this area has focused on the preparation of stronger solid acids and their characterization. Advantages of solid acid catalysts over liquid acid catalysts include ease of separation from reaction mixture and high selectivity or specific activity.
A series of novel solid strong acids has been prepared by treatment of inorganic oxides by Lewis acids. The method of creating or enhancing the number of tetrahedral aluminum centers on inorganic oxides has led to a series of novel solid acid catalysts which displays an increased acidity over the supports alone.
Investigations of acid sites by the infrared spectroscopy of adsorbed pyridine, calorimetric titrations and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance on a series of new solid acid catalysts will be discussed. This new solid acid catalyst system exhibits high catalytic activity and selectivity for cracking reactions under relatively mild conditions. In addition to the reactions of hydrocarbons, the reactions of various polychlorinated molecules have been studied.
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