Title

Analyzing and Quantifying Microfiber Pollution in the Lake Michigan Watershed

Faculty Sponsor

Julie Peller

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Chemistry

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018

Abstract

Research in the field of microfiber collection and analysis has become quite important in understanding the types and quantity of pollution that inhabit watershed around the world. Microfibers, which are a type of microplastic, are found in items such as our clothing, blankets, rugs, etc. Types of microfibers include, but are not limited to: polyester, rayon, acrylic, and nylon. As the use of these types of items becomes greater the amount of microfibers shed from these items into the environment also increases. In order to understand the microfiber pollution on a local level, research is being carried out on water samples in order to identify and analyze the microfibers found in the Valparaiso, Indiana waterway, known as Salt Creek. This creek eventually flows into Lake Michigan and carries water runoff from water treatment plants in Valparaiso and South Haven, Indiana. We have been collecting 500 mL water samples and collect total suspended solids (TSS) through filtration. The samples undergo the Fenton reaction to eliminate natural fibers from the filter quantify synthetic microfibers present in the creek. Standard samples are created in order to test the efficiency of the lab procedures. These standards include rayon, nylon, polyester, acrylic, and combined samples of clothing placed in beakers to shed microfibers. standards include rayon, nylon, polyester, acrylic, and combined samples of clothing placed in beakers to shed microfibers. The standard samples are processed alongside the water samples in order to quantify and analyze microfiber pollution in the local watershed. A significant number of the 500 mL water samples contain one or more microfibers, and polyester fibers appear to be the most common.

Keywords: Microfiber, microplastic, Fenton reaction, TSS filtration, pollution.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Edward Kostelnik is a freshman attending Valparaiso University and majoring in chemistry and biology, minoring in creative writing, and on the pre-med track. His research interests include environmental chemistry and research over the human body. Edward’s future goal is to attend medical school and help others around him with research towards the human body and environment, and in practice. Allen Huff is a current freshman at Valparaiso University majoring in Chemistry and Secondary Education. Current research interests include environmental chemistry that incorporates aspects of biology. Future goals include pursuing a PhD in chemistry and attempting to solve the plastic problem. Julie Pohlman-Zordan is currently attending Valparaiso University and majoring in chemistry. Her research interests deal with environmental chemistry and overall figuring out how to help those around her. Julie's future goal is to solidify her decision on her major and possibly get involved in the pharmaceutical branch.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS