Increasing environmental pollution from plastic
Plastics, such as those made from various polymer compounds (polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride), make everyday life easier in a variety of ways. Among other things, they serve as practical packaging, functional textile fibers, durable flooring or robust components. However, the big disadvantage of plastics is: they are not biodegradable and therefore increasingly pollute nature and the environment.
Microplastic particles are smaller than five millimeters and are often barely visible to the naked eye. As a result of the high mobility of these particles, it may be assumed that hardly any place in the world is still free of microplastics. Research on the associated risks for humans and the environment is only in its infancy. For this reason it is becoming increasingly important to be able to reliably filter and analyze these tiny particles.
Accumulation of microplastics in the food chain
The decomposition of plastic waste – but also, for example, the abrasion of car tires or the washing of textiles – creates (secondary) microplastics that are distributed in the environment. In addition, there is primary microplastic, which is contained in many cosmetic products and which enters rivers and oceans with wastewater. Microplastics accumulate in a wide variety of living creatures via the food chain, and ultimately even end up on our plates in the form of edible fish and seafood.
Reliable identification of microplastics
i3 Membrane has developed special membranes for applications in microplastics analysis. The gold-coated track-etched membranes i3 TrackPor R in an aluminum ring and the i3 TrackPor P provide optimum reflection in Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. They form a suitable, conductive substrate for imaging in a scanning electron microscope (EDX/WDX).
The different pore sizes of polyester membranes allow for the filtration of particles of different sizes and are an indispensable tool.