The condensation reaction of styrene-maleic anhydride copolymer (SMAH) with polytetramethylene ether glycol (PTMEG) in the presence or absence of a hydrated zinc acetate catalyst was studied in a batch mixer. As a control, pure SMAH and an SMAH/catalyst blend were also subjected to the same processing conditions. The reaction characteristics of the blends were investigated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermal and rheological analysis. FTIR analysis of the SMAH/PTMEG blend indicated ester formation. The addition of zinc acetate and/or PTMEG to SMAH decreased the glass transition temperature of pure SMAH. Oscillatory shear properties of storage modulus, G', loss modulus, G", and complex viscosity, eta*, were measured. The SMAH/PTMEG/zinc acetate blend had higher G', G", and eta* than the blend without the zinc acetate catalyst. The parameters of the relaxation spectra were calculated by using the experimental oscillatory data and the generalized Maxwell model. Zero shear viscosity and the mean relaxation time increased with addition of zinc acetate and/or PTMEG to SMAH as a result of chain extension/branching reactions. (C) 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.