Superswelling acrylamide (AAm)/maleic acid (MA) hydrogels were prepared by free radical polymerization in aqueous solution of AAm with MA as comonomer with some multifunctional crosslinkers such as trimethylolpropane triacrylate and 1,4-butanediol dimethacrylate. AAm/MA hydrogels were used in experiments on swelling and adsorption of a water-soluble monovalent cationic dye such as Basic Blue 17 (Toluidin Blue). As a result of dynamic swelling tests, the influence of relative content of MA on the swelling properties of the hydrogel systems was examined. AAm/MA hydrogels were swollen in the range 1660-6050% in water, while AAm hydrogels swelled in the range 780-1360%. Equilibrium water content of AAm/MA hydrogels were calculated in the range 0.8873-0.9837. Water intake of hydrogels followed a non-Fickian type diffusion. The uptake of the cationic dye, BB-17 to AAm/MA hydrogels is studied by batch adsorption technique at 25 degreesC. In the experiments of the adsorption equilibrium, S-type adsorption in Giles's classification system was found. The binding ratio of hydrogel/dye systems was gradually increased with the increase of MA content in the AAm/MA hydrogels. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.