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Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology Center (MAST)

Penn State University

The New Jersey Institute of Technology

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

University of Colorado

Last Reviewed: 03/27/2018

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's Mission is:

1. Provide value for our sponsors through high quality research and access to unique facilities and a network of leading faculty. 

2. Provide unique training oppotuniites for our postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate researchers. 

3. Promote membrane research via outreach to the univeristy, membrane community, and broader public. 

Our Vision:

We will be recognized as the leading research center in the membrane community, as well as a leading NSF I/UCRC and a model for other I/UCRCs.

Center Sponsors and Accomplishments:

For over 25 years the MAST Center has been leading global membrane research center known for its innovation, efficiency and high level of corporate support. We started as the Center for Separations Using Thin Films in 1991.  In 2001, we became a multi-campus Center known as the Center for Membrane Applied Science and Technology. In 2010, the current Center for Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology (MAST) Center was formed as a partnership between the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Colorado Boulder.  In March 2014, the University of Arkansas joined the MAST Center as a third university campus. Over the years, MAST Center researchers from the University of Arkansas, University of Colorado Boulder and the New Jersey Institute of Technology have worked on collaborative research projects with for industry sponsors.   In addition, we have worked with collaborators from several other institutions, including Colorado State University, Clemson University, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Maine at Orono, and Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. The Center draws researchers from diverse fields including biological, chemical, physical and materials sciences; health and pharmaceutical sciences; and aeronautical, chemical, civil, environmental, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering.

Research program

Membrane Materials

We develop novel advanced materials with unique surface properties or a wide range of membrane applications..

Membrane Formation

We develop novel tailored membrane structures, including mixed matrix structures, for advanced applications.

Membrane Characterization

We have a complete range of equipment for membrane surface characterization as well as developing new techniques to quantify membrane structure, properties, function and durability.

Membrane Performance

We develop new membrane based separation process for challenging separations.

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. The Penn State site leverages the extensive core facilities in the Materials Characterization Laboratory (MCL), which is a partner in the NSF-supported Materials Research Facilities Network. This past year, MCL had more than 1000 users from 40 Penn State Departments and more than 100 external organizations. The MCL maintains state-of-the-art instrumentation in transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron and ion microscopy, X-ray scattering, molecular spectroscopy, thermal analysis, particle characterization, surface analysis (XPS, Auger, AFM, optical profilometry), electrical characterization, and nanofabrication. Of particular interest to the MAST Center are the recent investments in electron microscopes, including an FEI TITAN G2, an FEI TALOS, two FEI TECNAIs, and a custom-built FEI KRIOS; the TITAN and TALOS are capable of electron tomography of membrane materials.  


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 W. Cato Springs Road

Fayetteville, Arkansas, 72701

United States

Penn State University

Department of Chemical Engineering
121G Chemical & Biomedical Engineering Building

University Park, Pennsylvania, 16802

United States