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BME Environmental Global Health Material Science

A Device For Identifying Microplastics

We are designing a device that will provide a cost-effective method for characterizing whether a particle in water is a plastic or nonplastic, as well as categorizing the subtype of plastic. The device will need to be effective on a scale of approximately one to five microns, which is the size of the microplastic particles.

Team Members

Tresa Elias
Emma Foley
Catherine Hauser

Supervisors

James McGrath, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, UR

Customers

Greg Madejski, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, UR

Description

We are designing a device that will provide a cost-effective method for characterizing whether a particle in water is a plastic or nonplastic, as well as categorizing the subtype of plastic. The device will need to be effective on a scale of approximately one to five microns, which is the size of the microplastic particles. For more information, please see our abstract on page 2.

This video provides an explanation of what our device does and how it is put together. It was animated using Blender.
Microplastic beads on a silicon wafer, imaged with a microscope.
This diagram shows a rendering of our detailed design, including proposed materials for a prototype.

9 replies on “A Device For Identifying Microplastics”

This looks like an awesome and very pertinent project in todays world. I am sorry your device could never have been built but great work!

Great video animation! It did a great job of explaining your project and was interesting to watch.

Excellent project, the visualizations and abstract were well-detailed and thoroughly composed. Great work!

Very interesting. I am curious what happens if the filter catches more than one type of plastic, will your device be able to detect more than one type or only one? This is an important topic, and great presentation. Congratulations!

Thank you so much! Our device should be able differentiate between different plastic types on the same filter due to the different melting points of each plastic.

Hard to believe these things are so prevalent, but so understudied. Your melting temperature approach for identification is very interesting.

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