Dr Marlene Cran researches polymer science with an emphasis on polymer membranes for desalination and wastewater recovery.  Marlene's current research projects include the study of the chemical degradation and wear of reverse osmosis membranes and rubber materials in the presence of oxidising chemicals.

With other membrane projects in cleaning, integrity monitoring, autopsy, and recycling of used elements, Marlene is experienced in many aspects of the lifecycle of membrane materials. Membrane synthesis for pervaporation and the synthesis of polymeric nanoparticles for a range of applications are also in the portfolio of Marlene’s research activities.

In addition to the membrane projects, Marlene is contributing to the development of novel techniques for a range of polymer degradation studies and has several projects in antimicrobial packaging materials. These include the use of natural antimicrobial agents in polymer films and biodegradable bio-composites for food packaging, and microencapsulation techniques to reduce losses of these agents during processing.

Areas of expertise

  • Active, antimicrobial & biodegradable packaging
  • Analytical instrumentation (FTIR, DSC/TGA, SEM etc.)
  • Degradation of polymer materials
  • Polymer membrane systems (degradation, cleaning, integrity, autopsy)
  • Reuse and recycling of used and end-of-life desalination membrane elements
  • Synthesis of nanoparticles

Contact details

+61 420 973 273

Recent publications

Refereed journal articles

Kuorwel, K. K., Cran, M. J., Sonneveld, K., Miltz, J., & Bigger, S. W. (2014). Physico-Mechanical Properties of Starch-Based Films Containing Naturally Derived Antimicrobial Agents. Packaging Technology and Science, 27(2), 149-159. doi: 10.1002/pts.2015

Kuorwel, K. K., Cran, M. J., Sonneveld, K., Miltz, J., & Bigger, S. W. (2013). Migration of antimicrobial agents from starch-based films into a food simulant. LWT - Food Science and Technology, 50(2), 432-438. doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2012.08.023

Kuorwel, K. K., Cran, M. J., Sonneveld, K., Miltz, J., & Bigger, S. W. (2013). Water sorption and physicomechanical properties of corn starch-based films. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 128(1), 530-536. doi: 10.1002/app.38213

Lawler, W., Antony, A., Cran, M., Duke, M., Leslie, G., & Le-Clech, P. (2013). Production and characterisation of UF membranes by chemical conversion of used RO membranes. Journal of Membrane Science, 447, 203-211. doi: 10.1016/j.memsci.2013.07.015

Lawler, W., Bradford-Hartke, Z., Cran, M. J., Duke, M., Leslie, G., Ladewig, B. P., & Le-Clech, P. (2012). Towards new opportunities for reuse, recycling and disposal of used reverse osmosis membranes. Desalination, 299, 103-112. doi: 10.1016/j.desal.2012.05.030

Conference presentations

Cran, M. (2012). Second life for used membranes: Progress on a NCED research initiative. Paper presented at the Singapore International Singapore International Water Week.

Cran, M. J., Gray, S. R., Bigger, S. W., & Scheirs, J. (2010). Degradation of Rubber in the Presence of Chloramine or Hypochlorite. Paper presented at the 6th International Conference on Modification, Degradation and Stabilization of Polymers, MoDeSt 2010.

Cran, M. J., Le Boursicot, T., Ostarcevic, E., Bigger, S. W., & Gray, S. (2009). Kinetics of the chloramine degradation of polyamide membranes. Paper presented at the OzWater'09 Conference.

Ostarcevic, E., Cran, M., & Gray, S. (2013). Screening fluorescent chemicals and nanoparticles as potential surrogates for real-time reverse osmosis integrity monitoring. Paper presented at the AWA Water Recycling Conference.

Ostarcevic, E., Cran, M. J., & Gray, S. (2013). Developments in Real-Time Integrity Monitoring of High Pressure Membranes. Paper presented at the IMSTEC13 Conference.

Teaching responsibilities

Marlene is an associate supervisor of 2 current PhD students and has co-supervised 2 successful completions as well as several honours students and international interns.

Research grants

  • National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, Development of Cleaning Guidelines for Desalination Membrane Users, $53,710
  • National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, Alternative Disposal Methods for End-Of-Life Desalination Membrane Elements, $90,921
  • VU Research Infrastructure Grants, PerkinElmer Frontier Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrophotometer with Variable Path-Length Gas Cell, $48,500

Professional memberships

  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute, Chartered Member (MRACI CChem)
  • Membrane Society of Australasia