A sequence of semi-interpenetrating polymer network (semi-IPN) were synthesized by free radical photo copolymerizing acrylic acid and isopropyl acrylamide (NIPAAm) in aqueous sodium alginate (NaAlg). Their structures (FT-IR), thermal stability (TG/DTG), morphology (SEM), mechanical properties, reactive blue 4 (RB 4) dye adsorption (624 mg/g) and its dying characteristics, reusability of dye and adsorbent were evaluated. TG thermograms of semi-IPN in air revealed zero order kinetics for initial step thermal degradation with an activation energy of 68.68 kJ/mol. Dye adsorption showed best fit for Langmuir adsorption isotherm and the kinetics followed pseudo-second-order model. The water and dye diffusion kinetics followed non-Fickian mechanism. The changes in thermodynamic parameters namely Gibbs free energy (ΔG°), entropy (ΔS°) and enthalpy (ΔH°) indicated that the adsorption was spontaneous and exothermic process for RB 4/semi-IPN system. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40968.