The acidity and its effects on reactivity of Keggin-type heteropolycompounds were examined by catalytic probe reactions, microcalorimetry of ammonia sorption, and density functional quantum chemical calculations. Phosphotungstic, phosphomolybdic, silicotungstic, and silicomolybdic acids were used as model compounds. The specific rates of double-bond isomerization of both 1-butene and cw-2-butene were orders of magnitude greater on the tungsten heteropolyacids than on molybdenum heteropolyacids, which suggests the tungstencontaining solids are stronger acids. The rate of double-bond isomerization over silicotungstic acid was similar to that over phosphotungstic acid, indicating the minor role of the heteroatom. Results from ammonia sorption microcalorimetry showed A//SOrp on tungsten-based heteropolyacids was approximately 40 kJ mol"1 higher than the corresponding enthalpy obtained on molybdenum-based heteropolyacids. Residual waters of hydration significantly affected both reaction rates and sorption enthalpies. Quantum chemical calculations revealed the most energetically favorable site of the acidic proton to be a bridging oxygen atom in the anhydrous heteropolyacid. Calculations on structurally optimized small metal oxide clusters, as well as the complete Keggin unit, were used to determine the proton affinities by DFT methods. Regardless of cluster size, the proton affinity of a tungsten cluster was always lower than that of an analogous molybdenum cluster by about 20-40 kJ mol"1. The combination of results from experiments and quantum chemical calculations provides a consistent ranking of acid strength for this important class of solid catalysts.