Swelling behaviors of crosslinked acrylamide/maleic acid (CAMA) hydrogels synthesized by gamma-radiation crosslinking of acrylamide and maleic acid in aqueous urea solutions were investigated. CAMA hydrogels containing different amounts of maleic acid were obtained in the form of rods via a radiation technique. Swelling experiments were performed in two different urea concentrations at 25 degrees C, gravimetrically. The hydrogels showed enormous swelling in aqueous medium and displayed swelling characteristics that were highly dependent on the chemical composition of the hydrogels and irradiation dose. Diffusion behavior and some swelling kinetics parameters were investigated. The values of the swelling percent of CAMA hydrogels were between 935% and 5212%, while the values of the swelling percent of acrylamide hydrogels were between 669% and 923%. The difference of the concentrations of urea solutions was not affected by the swelling properties of the hydrogel systems. Urea/water diffusion into hydrogels was found to be non-Fickian in character. Equilibrium urea/water contents of the hydrogel systems were changed between 0.8699 and 0.9812. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.