2 edited body edited Dec 9 '18 at 12:00 orthocresol♦ 42.8k77 gold badges133133 silver badges263263 bronze badges Formation of imines is usually a nucleophilic subsitution of oxigen with nitrogen. For this to happen, the oxigen usually must be bound beforehand as carbon-oxigen bond is quite strong. The most straightforward way is to use acidic catalysis. Most reactions that you referenced use acidic catalysis, though sometimes it isn't immediately apparent because they use solid catalyst such as molecular sieves a.k.a. H-form zeolites. A few use Lewis acids, such as $$\ce{Ti(OEt)4}$$. They still count as acids. The cases when no acid is used are not pure nucleophilic substitution. The reference you provided features various oxidative and other catalytic reactions, proceeding through different mechanism, that do not need acid, and a few reactions where reagent itself bears acidic function, like tosil isocionatetosyl isocyanate, that is a strong electrophile and can bind with oxigenoxygen on its own. TL;DR: the cases when acid apparently isn't used usually include it in non-obvious way. Other cases proceed through wild varying different mechanisms, usually involving oxidation. Formation of imines is usually a nucleophilic subsitution of oxigen with nitrogen. For this to happen, the oxigen usually must be bound beforehand as carbon-oxigen bond is quite strong. The most straightforward way is to use acidic catalysis. Most reactions that you referenced use acidic catalysis, though sometimes it isn't immediately apparent because they use solid catalyst such as molecular sieves a.k.a. H-form zeolites. A few use Lewis acids, such as $$\ce{Ti(OEt)4}$$. They still count as acids. The cases when no acid is used are not pure nucleophilic substitution. The reference you provided features various oxidative and other catalytic reactions, proceeding through different mechanism, that do not need acid, and a few reactions where reagent itself bears acidic function, like tosil isocionate, that is a strong electrophile and can bind with oxigen on its own. TL;DR: the cases when acid apparently isn't used usually include it in non-obvious way. Other cases proceed through wild varying different mechanisms, usually involving oxidation. Formation of imines is usually a nucleophilic subsitution of oxigen with nitrogen. For this to happen, the oxigen usually must be bound beforehand as carbon-oxigen bond is quite strong. The most straightforward way is to use acidic catalysis. Most reactions that you referenced use acidic catalysis, though sometimes it isn't immediately apparent because they use solid catalyst such as molecular sieves a.k.a. H-form zeolites. A few use Lewis acids, such as $$\ce{Ti(OEt)4}$$. They still count as acids. The cases when no acid is used are not pure nucleophilic substitution. The reference you provided features various oxidative and other catalytic reactions, proceeding through different mechanism, that do not need acid, and a few reactions where reagent itself bears acidic function, like tosyl isocyanate, that is a strong electrophile and can bind with oxygen on its own. TL;DR: the cases when acid apparently isn't used usually include it in non-obvious way. Other cases proceed through wild varying different mechanisms, usually involving oxidation. 1 answered Dec 9 '18 at 11:26 permeakra 18.7k11 gold badge4040 silver badges8787 bronze badges Formation of imines is usually a nucleophilic subsitution of oxigen with nitrogen. For this to happen, the oxigen usually must be bound beforehand as carbon-oxigen bond is quite strong. The most straightforward way is to use acidic catalysis. Most reactions that you referenced use acidic catalysis, though sometimes it isn't immediately apparent because they use solid catalyst such as molecular sieves a.k.a. H-form zeolites. A few use Lewis acids, such as $$\ce{Ti(OEt)4}$$. They still count as acids. The cases when no acid is used are not pure nucleophilic substitution. The reference you provided features various oxidative and other catalytic reactions, proceeding through different mechanism, that do not need acid, and a few reactions where reagent itself bears acidic function, like tosil isocionate, that is a strong electrophile and can bind with oxigen on its own. TL;DR: the cases when acid apparently isn't used usually include it in non-obvious way. Other cases proceed through wild varying different mechanisms, usually involving oxidation.