Butane isomerization as a diagnostic tool in the rational design of solid acid catalysts

Matthew E. Potter, Joshua J.M. Le Brocq, Alice E. Oakley, Evangeline B. McShane, Bart D. Vandegehuchte, Robert Raja

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


The growing demand for isobutane as a vital petrochemical feedstock and chemical intermediate has for many decades surpassed industrial outputs that can be supplied through liquified petroleum gases. Alternative methods to resource the isobutane market have been explored, primarily the isomerization of linear n-butane to the substituted isobutane. To date the isobutane market is valued at over 20 billion US dollars, enticing researchers to seek unique and novel catalytic materials to improve on current commercial practices. Two main classes of catalysts have dominated the butane isomerization literature in the last few decades; namely microporous zeolites and sulfated zirconia. Both have been widely researched for butane isomerization, to the point where key catalytic descriptors such as acidity, framework topology and metal doping are becoming well understood. While this provides new researchers with a roadmap for developing new materials, it is has also begun developing into an invaluable tool for diagnosing and understanding the effect of these individual descriptors on catalytic properties. In this review we explore the different factors that influence the active site behavior of particularly zeolites and sulfated zirconia catalysts towards understanding the use of butane isomerization as a diagnostic tool for solid-acid catalysts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1099
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2020


  • Acidity
  • Butane isomerization
  • Solid-acid catalysts
  • Sulfated zirconia
  • Zeolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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