Microplastic analytics

Particle analysis with coated track-etched membranes

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. In addition to the gold-coated track-etched filters i3 TrackPor R in the aluminum ring and i3 TrackPor P, the aluminum-coated polyester membranes i3 TrackPor PAR in the aluminum ring and i3 TrackPor PA in particular provide optimum reflection in Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and laser direct infrared imaging (LDIR) spectroscopy. They form a suitable, conductive base for imaging in the scanning electron microscope (EDX/WDX).

The different pore sizes of the membranes allow for the filtration of particles of different sizes and are an indispensable tool.

			Microplastic particles on a gold-coated track-etched membrane

Microplastic particles enlarged

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