No, it does not act like a catalyst.
Sulfuric Acid acts as a dehydrating agent,
removing the water from the sucrose according to
this reaction:The hydration
of the Sulfuric acid creates heat (exothermic
reaction). This is the driving force of the
reaction. Sulfuric acid is hydrated. Like you
said, the acid is reacting with the OH groups
of the sucrose.The waste product still has to
be neutralized because it is still an acid,
although less strong now because it is diluted.
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