Identification and size measurement of plastic microparticles

R. Ben Aïm*, N. Petillon, IFTS - Institute of Filtration & Techniques of Separation; C. Causserand, University of Toulouse, France, I. Robertson, Perkin Elmer Ltd, UK

Plastic microparticles are today a very important environmental issue.

Impressive photos show their very visible presence in oceans. However, their discrete or invisible presence in lakes, rivers and aquifers is becoming an important concern including public health issues.

To date, there is not a consensus about a general definition of plastic microparticles. However the definition proposed by Frias et al. (2019) integrates all the specificities of these particles: “Microplastics are any synthetic solid particle or polymeric matrix, with regular or irregular shape and with size ranging from 1μm to 5mm,of either primary or secondary manufacturing origin, which are insoluble in water”. Recently the proof of the existence of a nano-size fraction in waste water resulted in this additional definition of “nanoplastics”: particles resulting from the degradation of plastic objects and having a colloidal behaviour with a size between 1 nm and 1 µm”...

....Several methods and analytical techniques like light microscopy, laser diffraction, micro-Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (μ-FTIR)), micro-Raman spectroscopy have been used recently as imaging flow cytometry. Most of these methods have size limitation and provide results only above 10 or 20 microns. Additionally, in the size range where a comparison is possible, the results are quite different: this clearly appears in the results presented in a recent thesis concerning the microplastics produced by personal care products and kitchen scourers.

From other part, the submicronic fraction of microplastics is quite unknown.A method and a test rig for assessing the efficiency of filters in the micron and submicronic range was recently developed. Recent results concerning the retention of microplastics by cartridge and membrane filters using this test rig will be presented.....

Session: L1 - Particle and Slurry Characterization
Day: 22 October 2019
Time: 13:00 - 14:15 h

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