Regenerated cellulose wood pulp was grafted with the vinyl monomer glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) using ceric ammonium nitrate as initiator and was further fuctionalised with imidazole to produce a novel adsorbent material, cellulose-g-GMA-imidazole. All cellulose, grafted cellulose and functionalized cellulose grafts were physically and chemically characterized using a number of analytical techniques, including elemental analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, differential thermal analysis, and scanning electron microscopy. The cellulose-g-GMA material was found to contain 1.75 mmol g(-1) epoxy groups. These epoxy groups permitted introduction of metal binding functionality to produce the cellulose-g-GMA-imidazole final product. Following characterization, a series of adsorption studies were carried out on the cellulose-g-GMA-imidazole to assess its capacity in the removal of Cu2+ ions from solution. Cellulose-g-GMA-imidazole sorbent showed an uptake of similar to 70 mg g(-1) of copper from aqueous solution. The adsorption process is best described by the Langmuir model of adsorption, and the thermodynamics of the process suggest that the binding process is mildly exothermic. The kinetics of the adsorption process indicated that copper uptake occurred within 30 min and that pseudo-second-order kinetics best describe the overall process. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.