Membranes are an integral part of every cell and therefore of life itself. Just as life is characterised by such diversity, so also are membranes in their composition, design and functions. In this respect, nature has been the role model for membrane design.

Membranes, used in industrial applications, are always very thin and usually made from polymers, and to a lesser degree, from ceramic materials. To ensure sufficient stability, they are placed on supporting structures, made either of the same or of different materials.

Membrane processes are mostly applied for the separation of substances,  thus constituting a basic element in chemical engineering. In many cases, conventional separation processes have already been replaced by the use of membrane technology in industry. Membrane processes are generally cost-effective and are characterised by energy-efficient and environmentally friendly operation. An essential advantage of membrane plants is the compact and often modular design.