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Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology Center (MAST)

The New Jersey Institute of Technology

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

University of Colorado

Last Reviewed: 06/22/2017

The MAST Center accomplishes cutting-edge research in membrane materials, formation, characterization and performance via a multifaceted research program. The Center supports work in several application areas including separations of importance in the water treatment and reclamation, energy and chemical, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries.

Center Mission and Rationale

Center Research Program:

The MAST Center research program is multidisciplinary in nature and involves faculty and students from a number of departments. This diversity is an advantage as it effectively addresses the increasingly complex and interdisciplinary nature of the research projects of interest to our Center sponsors. These interactions produce industrially relevant research results that can be implemented in a timely fashion.

MAST Center projects are focused in four fundamental membrane science research areas: materials; formation; characterization; and performance. Fundamental research in these thrust areas supports MAST Center applied research that focuses on membrane applications in several established and newly emerging areas including the use of graphene and ionic liquids, implementation of nanoscale surface patterning, and development of integrated sensors.

Center Sponsors and Accomplishments:

The Center currently has 15 sponsors from Industry, Federal Agencies, and Universities. Member companies (sponsors) are represented on the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) and through their voting rights select, monitor and mentor Center research. Research proposals are developed by the faculty in consultation with member companies in response to IAB input regarding key industrial needs. The IAB discusses the importance and quality of the results, and recommends appropriate modifications of the research direction.

The MAST Center has operated successfully for 25 years through several different organizational structures. The original single-site Center became a two-site multi-university center, and we now operate as a three-site Center with New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of Colorado Boulder, and University of Arkansas. The MAST Center has collaborated with several other schools including Clemson University, Colorado State University, and University of Maine. The Center has been able to draw researchers from diverse areas of science and engineering including: biological, chemical and physical sciences; health and pharmaceutical sciences; and aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, materials science, and mechanical engineering. From the Center’s original research focus research activities have significantly expanded into new and challenging research areas.

Research program

Membrane characterization

Studies in membrane structure, function and durability.

Membrane Formation

Research on the formation of membranes, and how a membrane can be modified during its formation process to provide optimal results for venue and specific use.

Membrane Materials

Research on optimal materials for membranes, and how they vary depending upon use and venue.

Membrane Performance

Research on how to generate optimal performance from a membrane based on its composition, formation, venue, and use. There is an additional focus on how to prevent fouling and clogging of the membrane to prolong life and keep performance at an optimal level.

Special Activities

After a successful Planning Meeting in Spring 2013, the University of Arkansas (UA) has been added in 2014 as a new MAST Center site.  This new site complements and expands the capabilities and expertise at NJIT and CUB.

Facilities and Laboratory

The NJIT site has easy access to several central institute facilities such as the Electron Microscopy Facility, W.M. Keck Laboratory, and York Center for Environmental Engineering and Sciences (CEES); these facilities are highly useful for characterization of membranes, membrane materials and particles, and other materials encountered in studies on membranes and membrane processes.  In addition, the Polymer Processing Institute (PPI) provides access to polymer processing facilities including compounding, extrusion and forming, thermal, and other characterization instruments for polymers. The CUB site provides exceptional facilities for forming and characterizing polymeric, ceramic, metallic and composite membranes. The Center has a wide range of specialized equipment for characterizing physical, chemical and mechanical behavior as well as extensive capabilities for the measurement of membrane performance and phenomena such as compaction, concentration polarization and fouling.  These characterization and materials processing capabilities at CUB complement those available at NJIT. The University of Arkansas has expanded the capabilities of the Center by utilizing the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering, a premier research facility located on campus.   The Arkansas Nano & Bio Materials Characterization Facility, housed within the Institute for Nanosciences and Engineering provides state-of-art analytical and surface characterization services.  Instruments available include the state-of-the-art FEI Titan 80-300 Transmission Electron Microscope, FEI Nova Nanolab 200 ultra-high resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy, FEI XL-30 Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope, PHI VersaProbe XPS instrument, Philips PW1830 Double System XRD and a Philips PW3040 X'Pert MRD High Resolution XRD, and a Veeco Dimension 3100 Atomic Force Microscope.  In addition, the UA has significant computing resources available through the High Performance Computing (HPC) Center.


University of Colorado

Department of Mechanical Engineering
432 UCB, ECME 105A

Boulder, Colorado, 80309-0432

United States

The New Jersey Institute of Technology

Department of Chemical, Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering
161 Warren St. Tiernan Hall, Room 362, University Heights

Newark, New Jersey, 07102

United States



University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering
1475 Cato Springs Road

Fayetteville, Arkansas, 72701

United States