Solid acids are acids that do not dissolve in the reaction medium. They are often used in heterogeneous catalysts.
Examples include oxides, which function as Lewis acids including silico-aluminates (zeolites, alumina, silico-alumino-phosphate), and sulfated zirconia. Many transition metal oxides are acidic, including titania, zirconia, and niobia. Such acids are used in cracking. Many solid Brønsted acids are also employed industrially, including sulfonated polystyrene, solid phosphoric acid, niobic acid, and heteropolyoxometallates.
One large scale application is alkylation, e.g., the combination of benzene and ethylene to give ethylbenzene. Another application is the rearrangement of cyclohexanone oxime to caprolactam. Many alkylamines are prepared by amination of alcohols, catalyzed by solid acids.
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