The gamma-ray-induced copolymerization of vinyl triethoxy silane (VTES) with methyl methacrylate (MMA) was developed to be used in the simultaneous preservation and consolidation of archeological artifacts. A detailed analysis was performed to characterize the copolymerization reaction and conversion. The copolymers were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), and elemental analysis techniques. The mol fraction of VTES units in the synthesized copolymers were determined by elemental analysis of silicone pertaining to VTES segments using inductive coupling plasma spectroscopy (ICP). The effect of VTES mol fraction in the initial feed and the irradiation dose (6.5, 8.5, 10.0 kGy) on the yield of copolymerization was investigated. The yield of the copolymerization was found to decrease with increasing the VTES mol fraction in the monomer feed, and to increase with increasing the irradiation dose at each monomer composition. However, using the data obtained from the ICP measurements, the mol fraction of the VTES units in synthesized copolymers was determined to increase with increasing the VTES concentration in the initial monomer feed. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.