The composites of natural (clinoptilolite) and synthetic zeolite (Z and YZ) with polyacrylamide (PAAm) were synthesized and characterized by FT-IR, TGA, XRD, SEM and PZC analysis. The adsorptive features of the minerals and its composites were investigated for Tb analogues to the rare earth elements (REs) by isotopic tracer method, Tb-160 was the radiotracer. The composites were the hybrid formations of PAAm and Z or YZ. Tb adsorption capacities of the composites were higher than those of bare Z and YZ. The compatibility of Tb adsorption kinetics to the second order and Weber-Morris models implied that the sorption process was chemical via ion exchange. The values of enthalpy and entropy changes were positive and the negative free enthalpy change was evidence for the spontaneity of adsorption. The reusability tests for the composites for five uses demonstrated that the adsorbents could be reused after complete recovery of the loaded ion. Unlike PAAm-YZ, PAAm-Z was resistant to acidic environment. The overall results eventually suggested that the composite of Z and PAAm was a potential cost effective adsorbent for Tb3+ and REs. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.