Microplastics migration through the soil

This summer Cinzia Albertini, Erasmus student from Polytechnic University of Bari (Italy), joined the CWRR team to work on the Microplastics Project. Cinzia did a great job and during her visit she reviewed literature, and designed and run the experiment on microplastics migration through the soil column. We wish her all the best in her Masters studies back in Italy and we hope to work with her in the future. Here is a short summary of Cinzia’s work:

During my Erasmus Internship at UCD I worked on the Microplastics (MPs) Project, where I focussed on the vertical migration of microplastics through the soil. Microplastics can enter terrestrial environments mainly through the application of sewage sludge as fertilisers on agricultural land. In my study, pilot soil-column laboratory experiments were performed in order to assess the vertical transport of Polyamide 6,6 (Nylon) particles of different shape and sizes through a high porous media (coarse sand). A significant review of the scientific literature was conducted and used to best design the experimental set-up. The experiments were performed under saturated conditions where constant irrigation of the column was achieved by using a rainfall simulator specifically designed and 3D printed for this purpose. A report on this work was produced, including a detailed methodology that can be used by others for future testing. Further and more accurate experiments will be necessary in order to assess the transport of different MPs through different types of soil.

 

Experimental setup

3D printed needles head

Rainfall simulator