ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2023 - 38

Efficiency of Combined Medias for
Filtration of Microplastics in Seawater
ACADEMIC INSTITUTION: SAIT
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY DISCIPLINE: CHEMICAL
TEAM MEMBERS: KAYLIB TREMBLAY, RITCHELYN (RICA) CONTRERAS
W
We explored the idea of using common filtration
medias combined with a biofoam filter in
the remediation of microplastics (MPs) contaminating
a seawater source. If the filter technology
and the filtration media used was found effective in
reducing the microplastic (MP) contamination from artificial
seawater, then the idea created around the filtration system
designed would be useful for further experimentation for
removing MP impurities from other sources. The determination
of the best outcome from the filtration systems tested
came from data collected using ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis)
spectroscopy.
For this analysis, the preparation of artificial seawater, conversion
of MP pellets to particulates of micro-size, surfactant
decisions, and filtration media testing were all completed.
Anything weighed was done using an analytical balance. The
artificial seawater prepared had the Bio Absorb Nutraceuticals
Trace Mineral Drops combined with deionized (DE) water
and sodium chloride (NaCl) crystals. The Trace Mineral Drops
contained a full spectrum of naturally ionic minerals and was
sourced from Utah's Great Salt Lake. This made for a great
alternative to all the minerals and elements necessary for a
replication of seawater, but lacked in sodium.
To obtain MP particles at the correct size, a multitude of
tests to grind/mill the provided polystyrene pellets were
completed to find the most efficient method. Using the BelArt
Products Micro-mill was found to be both inefficient and
failed in keeping the particulates within the instrument.
The last test completed was to use a mortar and pestle,
along with a plastic sandwich bag. The test was initially
done without the plastic bag, as it was important for us to
lessen the use of plastic within the experiment, but a major
loss of particulates was determined without the bag. Using
the mortar and pestle was considered the most effective
method to produce a MP particulate size compatible with
what was necessary for the experiment.
To obtain a fully suspended solution of the prepared MPs, a
surfactant was necessary. To determine the best surfactant
for this job, a set of four standards containing the surfactant,
artificial seawater, and MPs was made. Three different surfactants
were tested for best dispersion of MPs in the solution.
These include: sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), dodecyl
benzyl sulphonic acid (DDBSA), and sodium laureth sulphate
(SLES). Each set of standards was analyzed using multiple
wavelengths on the Shimazdu UV-Vis Spectroscopy.
The analysis demonstrated that there are numerous effective
strategies for deleting MPs. The sample was prepared by
smashing the MPs with a mortar and pestle, then a 1.5mg/mL
concentration of SDS surfactant was added for dispersion.
Before filtration, the concentration of the " Outside " sample
was 21.0 mg/mL, whereas the concentration of the " Inside "
sample was 7.77 mg/mL. The celite/perlite filter kit was more
effective in MP removal, producing a clear filtrate and nonreportable
concentrations (-0.0922 mg/mL for the inside
sample and -0.0902 mg/mL for the outside sample).
The celite/biofoam/perlite filtration kit was also useful, but
additional research was needed to develop a more effective
approach. This approach likewise produced unreportable
concentrations since they were negative as well (-0.0684
mg/L for the Inside sample and -0.0898 mg/L for the outside
sample), despite the presence of leach brown colouring.
Overall, it has been demonstrated that both filtration
kits sufficiently eliminated the MPs from both the lower and
higher concentrated samples.
38 | FALL 2023 | TECHNOLOGY ALBERTA

ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2023

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ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2023 - Cover
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ASET Technology Alberta Fall 2023 - Cover2
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