The radiation copolymerization of hydrophilic ethylene glycol vinyl ether (EGVE), hydrophobic butyl vinyl ether (BVE) and/or acidic comonomer acrylic acid (AA) was realized in the presence of crosslinking agent diethylene glycol divinyl ether (DEGDVE). The swelling studies which were carried out at 4 and 37°C in phosphate buffer solution (PBS, pH 7.4) showed that equilibrium swelling ratios of the hydrogels (except EGVE homopolymer hydrogel) decreases with increasing temperature and swelling process obeys non-Fickian diffusion mechanism. The pH-dependent swelling behaviour of the hydrogels was examined in buffered solutions at various pHs. The swelling process is reversible and pH-dependent for the AA-containing hydrogel. While this hydrogel shows a fully hydrated form at pH>6; it extensively dehydrates below pH 6. The gels are stable after the repeated swelling experiments. The molecular structure of the hydrogels was studied by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and their thermal behaviour was investigated by Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Thermal Gravimetric Analysis. The surface and cross-section structures of the gels were examined by a Scanning Electron Microscope. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.