The monomer reactivity ratios for itaconic acid (IA)/2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid (AMPS) in N,N-dimethylformamide solution using the benzoyl peroxide (Bz2O 2) as an initiator with different monomer-to-monomer ratios in the feed were investigated by studying the resulting copolymer composition via elemental analysis. Composition results were summarized and various methods were employed to estimate the monomer reactivity ratios including the use of the Error-in Variables-Model method using a computer program, RREVM. The estimates of the reactivity ratios from the EVM method are found to be r IA = 0.4636 and rAMPS = 0.0357. These values suggest that IA is more reactive than AMPS and the copolymer will be richer in IA units. Cu(II) and Ni(II) chelates of the copolymers were prepared and the formation constants of each complex were determined by the mole-ratio method using the UV-vis spectroscopy. UV-vis studies showed that the complex formation tendency increased in the followed order: Cu(II) > Ni(II). The copolymers and their metal chelates were characterized by FT-IR spectra and SEM analysis. Also, thermal stabilities of the copolymers and their metal chelates were investigated using TGA and DSC analysis. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.