The thermal behavior of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) [PHEMA] homopolymer and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-co-itaconic acid) [P(HEMA/IA)] copolymeric networks synthesized using a radiation-induced polymerization technique was investigated by differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The glasstransition temperature (T-g) of the PHEMA homopolymer was found to be 87 degrees C. On the other hand, the T, of the P(HEMA/IA) networks increased from 88 degrees C to 117 degrees C with an increasing amount of IA in the network system. The thermal degradation reaction mechanism of the P(HEMA/IA) networks was determined to be different from the PHEMA homopolymer, as confirmed by thermogravimetric analysis. It was observed that the initial thermal degradation temperature of these copolymeric networks increased from 271 degrees C to 300 degrees C with IA content. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.