The esterification of acrylic acid and n-butanol catalyzed by three different ion exchange resins, Amberlyst 15, Amberlyst 131 and Dowex 50Wx-400 was studied. Amberlyst 131 was found to be more efficient catalyst giving the maximum conversion of acrylic acid. The effects of temperature, molar ratio of alcohol to acid, stirrer speed and catalyst loading on the reaction rate were investigated. The chemical equilibrium constants were obtained experimentally and theoretically from thermodynamic properties. The experimental data were tested with four different reaction mechanisms according to adsorption status of reactants. The activity coefficients were calculated using UNIQUAC method to account for the non-ideal thermodynamic behavior. The activation energy was found to be 57.4 kJ/mol according to the LHHW model which correlates the experimental data with minimum error. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.