Microplastic analysis

Particle analysis with gold-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.

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.

Urgent need for research on risks

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.

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 aluminium 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.

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Microplastic particles on a gold-coated track-etched membrane

Microplastic particles on a gold-coated track-etched membrane

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As your companion for life science filtration, we support you with new, effective separation technologies in the Lab/Pharma, Medical and Biotech fields.

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