A method to quantitatively analyse Microplastic transport and retention in an experimental flume environment

, Boos Jan-Pascal, Gilfedder Benjamin, Frei Sven.

Rivers and streams are the dominant sources of microplastic (MP) in marine environments. During transport, complex physicochemical interactions between particles, water and river sediments influence particle mobility and retention. The specific transport mechanisms of MP in fluvial systems are not yet fully understood, and the main reason lies in the limitation in reliable data derived from experimental analysis. In our subproject of the ‘CRC 1357 Microplastics', we investigate the hydrodynamic mechanisms that control the transport and retention behavior of MP in open channel flows and streambed sediments. In an experimental flume environment, we create realistic hydrodynamic and hyporheic flow conditions by using various porous media (e.g. glass beads or sand) and bedform structures (e.g. riffle-pool sequences, ripples and dunes), modelled from real stream systems. The method developed here can quantitatively analyze the transport and retention of pore-scale particles (1-40 µm) based on fluorometric techniques. Particle velocity distributions and particle transport are measured using Particle-Image-Velocimetry and Laser-Doppler-Velocimetry. With our setup, we can quantitatively investigate time-resolved MP transport and retention through the aqueous and solid phase in a flume scale experiment. Part of the CRC 1357 local node event University of Bayreuth

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