Dr. Ulrike Braun
Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing / BAM
Unter den Eichen 87
Phone: +49 30 8104-4317
This project developed representative investigation methods and strategies for an integrative system understanding of relevant plastic entry paths into the environmental compartment water. The developed sampling methods were evaluated in terms of their concentration concept, their local use, their sampling throughput, and their selectivity for particles of different properties, sizes, and shapes. For this purpose, defined microplastic particles were produced with these varying characteristics and tested for representative recovery of sampling procedures in the laboratory and in semi-industrial simulation facilities. The methods developed in this way were translated into specific investigation strategies, adapted - with the aid of supporting simulation methods - and then applied to real environmental areas for different transport paths in the urban wastewater system. In addition to the academic understanding of microplastic entry points, causes and pathways, market-ready methods for efficient microplastic sampling were developed in cooperation with the companies involved. These methods form a basis for evaluation by legislators and for standardisation.
Main areas of work
- Development of efficient, integrative and representative research methods and strategies (accuracy, repeatability, transferability) for the determination of relevant microplastic contents over the different areas of the water cycle
- Establishment of goal-oriented, analytical methods for the detection of microplastic particles according to practical aspects
- Simulations of the dynamics of particles in water bodies in semi-industrial laboratory tests
- Further development of sampling to quantify the microplastic volume and transport in the real, urban waste water system for the waste water fractions: precipitation water, domestic waste water, and industrial waste water
- Generation of a simulation code for the dynamics of microplastic particles in waters
WP 1 Production of microplastics and microplastic suspensions
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Gehde, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Institute for Materials Handling and Plastics, Reichenhainer Straße 70, 09126 Chemnitz, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
BAM, TUB, PlasticsEurope
First, defined, heterogeneous microplastic mixtures were developed for the environmental testing in water and soil. After the initial use of existing materials (e.g. particles from cryogenic grinding, commercial products), plants for the realistic and defined production of microplastic particles were set up during the project period: UV degradation systems for thin-walled, defined materials, dry or aqueous mechanical abrasion systems for fibres from textile applications, and abrasion simulation systems for the generation of spherical particles. The other project partners contributed to the characterisation of these model materials by applying their analytical methods.
WP 2 Development of sampling methods
Dr. Claus Gerhard Bannick, Federal Environmental Agency, Corrensplatz 1, 14195 Berlin, e-mail: email@example.com
UGT, CSP, SMB, TUK, GEA, GKD, SVEI
In WP 2, efficient, reliable and reproducible sampling methods and strategies were developed for the microplastic model particles of different varieties, densities, sizes and shapes in the stream simulation facility at UBA. Their usability and reproducibility was also investigated for routine operation and the methods will be evaluated based on the recovery rates of experiments. The individual project partners optimised their analytical procedures: from the use of conventional flow-through centrifuges to the cascade filtration system, suspended matter traps, hydrodynamic modelling, and lysimeter tests to the control of possible input into groundwater.
WP 3 Simulations
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Manhart, Technical University of Munich, Associate Professorship of Hydromechanics, Arcisstraße 21, 80333 München, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The methodological developments from WP 2 were supported by accompanying simulations in WP 3. These simulations resulted in a description of the vertical distributions of spheroids at different particle sizes and shapes in a turbulent surface water or stream simulation facility. The models and results were integrated into a software that simulates geometrically complex, application-oriented cases. A sampling strategy was derived from the simulation results. Relevant material parameters of the particles such as size distribution, real density or surface properties from WP 1 as well as from partners from WP 5 were included.
WP 4 Sampling of real environmental compartment
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heidrun Steinmetz, Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Institute of Water - Infrastructure - Resources, Paul-Ehrlich-Straße 14, 67663 Kaiserslautern, e-mail: email@example.com
UBA, TUM, KMT
The main focus of WP 4 were the quantification of the microplastic volume and transport in the real, urban wastewater system for the wastewater and precipitation water, domestic wastewater (partial flows grey and black water), industrial wastewater, and mixed wastewater. The findings from the sampling in WP 2 were implemented and improved. Further work focused on sample preparation and preservation to evaluate the comparability of different sampling strategies. The investigations focused on the quantities and the importance of microplastic volumes in the individual entry points of the urban wastewater system into the water bodies.
WP 5 Analytics
Dr. Ulrike Braun, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Division 5.3 Mechanics of Polymers, Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CSP, TUM, FHI
The analytics used in the individual work packages were based on the requirements for sample preparation and analytical procedures as well as on the necessary information to be generated, not on the general feasibility. WP 5 served the intensive exchange of results generated with complementary analytical methods. In addition, the respective methods, supported by the results of the other project partners, were further refined and adapted.
As a real environmental simulation, individual components of the wastewater system of the city of Kaiserslautern were investigated. In concrete terms, precipitation water was sampled here on settlement and traffic areas as well as domestic and industrial wastewater.
In addition, air sampling was also carried out at the limits of comparable sampling sites at locations in Berlin and in the Halle/Leipzig area. The planned lysimeter tests were carried out in Berlin and thus allow an assessment of groundwater recharge in Berlin and Brandenburg.