Investigating Removal of Microplastics from Water Using Ferrofluids

The project investigates a new method for the extraction of microplastics (plastic particles less than 5mm in diameter) from water. Currently, no screening or filtering for microplastics takes place in any European wastewater treatment centres. This method was inspired by an article by Dr Arden Warner, who used non-toxic iron oxide (magnetite) to clean up oil-spills. Fionn Ferreira used this method to extract microplastics from water, by adding oil to a suspension containing a known concentration of microplastics. After these migrated into the oil phase, magnetite powder was added. The resulting microplastic-containing ferrofluid was removed using strong magnets.

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