Estimate the concentration of microplastic in sea water

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  • My thought is similar to PropGuy2, sea water is going to have all sorts of life/matter at all ranges.

    My initial thought would be to make a Rube Goldberg type device that would process the water sample in stages.

    Idea 1- Take sample and transfer to small centrifuge. I haven't experimented with one yet, however a hard drive would seem to be a possible candidate. ahh just found this

    Then, some handwaving, some sort of light or other sensor to detect where plastic starts, where it ends, add some math, and compare against either previous sample for increase/decrease or lookup table.

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  • You guys are getting close. Using Capillary ion chromatography and/or Centrifuge separating methods, you can get a pretty good base of your contaminates. You will also get a denser sample that easier to analyze. From there you can use either specific gravity to further separate out the contaminates / or use the 3 wave lengths of light (ultraviolet, visible, infrared) to classify the contaminates. Remember, you are looking for surface characteristics of the plastic contaminates, not necessarily the sizes of particles. Experiment, trial & error will get you there. Not easy, but probably a good & profitable business.
  • I set up a system a guy to measure plankton years ago. The system stirred a sample while exposing them to light and then measure the time it takes for them to die off while measuring the light.
  • DigitalBob - How did you measure the dead plankton, and how did you know for certain they were dead?
  • Another application for your plastic in sea water. For persons lost at sea, the search planes use spotters to scan the surface of the water, and many times they completely miss the person they are looking for. If a camera with a filter system designed for the wavelengths of plastic were used, the search would be much more effective as most boats and life preservers are made out of some type of plastic material. It may be possible for a life preserver to have a trace plastic imbedded in it to make the color spectrum more visible to the camera filter. Just a thought.
  • That project was 15+ years ago. I'd have to dig up my notes the customer the specified sequence of stirring, light detection, etc.
  • PropGuy2 wrote: »
    Another application for your plastic in sea water. For persons lost at sea, the search planes use spotters to scan the surface of the water, and many times they completely miss the person they are looking for. If a camera with a filter system designed for the wavelengths of plastic were used, the search would be much more effective as most boats and life preservers are made out of some type of plastic material. It may be possible for a life preserver to have a trace plastic imbedded in it to make the color spectrum more visible to the camera filter. Just a thought.



    You can take your science to outer space.
    800 x 533 - 190K
  • This auto correction spell check can be irritating screws up my sentence.
  • DigitalBob wrote: »
    This auto correction spell check can be irritating screws up my sentence.

    I'm glad you have auto-correct, my phone depends on me spelling it right the first time. And what I'm left with is hash.
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