1,4,8,11-Tetraazacyclotetradecane (cyclam) was reacted with acryloyl chloride in a 1 : 2 molar ratio in dichloromethane in the presence of pyridine at 0 degreesC. The modified cyclam was polymerized by adding an azobisisobutyronitrile initiator and irradiated with a LW lamp under reflux for 6 h. Precipitated cyclam containing polymer in the bulk structure was removed from the suspension by filtration. After washing and drying the final polymeric materials were used for transition metal ion adsorption and desorption studies. A Fourier transform IR spectrophotometer and thermogravimetric analyzer were used to characterize the polymeric structure. The affinity of the polymeric material for transition metal ions was used to test the adsorption-desorption of selected ions [Cu(II), Ni(II), Co(II), Cd(II), Pb(II)] from aqueous media containing different amounts of these metal ions (5-800 ppm) at different pH values (2.0-8.0). It was found that the adsorption rates were high and the adsorption equilibrium was reached in about 30 min. The uptake of the transition metal ions onto the polymer from solutions containing a single metal ion was 3.17 mmol/g for Cu(II), 0.98 mmol/g for Cd(II), 0.79 mmol/g for Co(II), 0.78 mmol/g for Ni(II), and 0.32 mmol/g for Pb(II). This polymer showed high affinity for Cu(II) compared to the other metal ions in the single ion solution and in the mixture of transition metal ions. The affinity order of the transition metal ions was Cu(II) >> Ni(II) > Cd(II) > Co(II) > Pb(II) for competitive adsorption. More than 95% of the adsorbed transition metal ions were desorbed in 2 h in a desorption medium containing 1.0M HNO3. Poly(cyclam) was found to be suitable for repeated use of more than five cycles without a noticeable loss of adsorption capacity. (C) 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.