According to new research, sound can help us deal with the growing problem of microplastics that plague the world’s oceans.
Microplastics accumulate in all layers of the environment, from soil to waterways, even in the atmosphere. Such particles are produced directly by cosmetics, garments, or industrial processes, or indirectly by the decomposition of larger pieces of plastic.
They are becoming a real environmental problem that endangers the health of both humans and wildlife. Considerable efforts have been made to develop methods for efficient disposal of microplastics, with various successes. Currently, a new study by Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in Surabaya, Indonesia, provides a rare solution to this problem. Filter them from the water using sound.
Speaker for rescue
This approach uses speakers to generate “bulk sound waves” (Sound wave It propagates throughout the volume of the substance to separate the microplastic particles in the water from the liquid. This allows for rapid and easy removal of particles by mechanical means and provides a clean and rapid method for scrubbing microplastic water.
During laboratory testing of their technology, researchers used two speakers to generate sound waves through a sample of water containing microplastic particles that circulated through a tube.The force of these waves (sound propagates through the physical movement of the particles of the material) creates pressure inside the tube, forcing the plastic. Fine particles Move towards the center of the tube. The tube was eventually split into three channels, one in the center removing the plastic and the other two carrying away cleaner water.
During the test, the team’s device scrubbed about 150 liters of contaminated water per hour. They tested three types of microplastic particles in pure water and seawater. The effectiveness of the rig was primarily dependent on the type of water flowing through the rig, but it also depended on the type of plastic contained. However, the lowest efficiency rating for this device was slightly above 56% for pure water and 58% for seawater for all types of microplastics used in the test.
The team explains that this is just a proof-of-concept run. They are confident that higher efficiencies can be achieved by further fine-tuning the frequency of the sound waves they generate, the distance between the speaker and the tube, and the flow of water through the tube. The amount of plastic that can be removed throughout the device cycle is directly dependent on the amount of pressure that can be generated in the water using sound waves, all of which affect this parameter.
One of the potential problems with technology that can significantly limit its applicability in the wild is that many marine organisms are very much in the audible frequency range (the same range as a team blows up a speaker). It means being sensitive. The author is working hard to find a potential solution to this problem. Even if this cannot be dealt with, this technique is promising by scrubbing the water before it is dumped into the waterway. This does not help clean the plastic that is already floating around the ocean, but at least it can limit the influx of new microplastics.
Dhany Arifianto, Dean of the Department of Vibration Acoustics at Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember Surabaya, Principal Investigator of the project, said:
Survey results will be announced at The 181st Annual Meeting of the American Acoustical Society December 1st in Seattle, WA.
The technology is still young, but I was able to use speakers to blow microplastics out of the water.
https://www.zmescience.com/science/sound-microplastics-filtering-826244/ The technology is still young, but I was able to use speakers to blow microplastics out of the water.