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Microplastics Detection & Identification

Inventors: Anna Michel, Beckett Colson
IP Status: Pending Applications

Background: Plastic waste- in a wide range of sizes – is the most prevalent type of waste found in marine environments. Plastic less than 5mm in length is commonly referred to as microplastics. Due to their small size, microplastics are difficult to detect and identify and present potential health risks from ingestion and other routes of entry to humans as well as marine life. The current identification process is time-consuming and potentially biased, relying on manual filtering and identification.

Technology: Microplastics identification via impedence spectroscopy would allow for real-time, flow-through microplastics quantification as well as identification. Lab results indicate successful differentiation of biological material from plastic particles of a variety of sizes. This technology has the potential to be developed into a real-time, and low cost microplastics sensor. This instrument will produce quantitative measurements of microplastic particle count, size distribution, and plastic to biological material ratio.