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Microplastic and natural sediment in bed load saltation: Material does not dictate the fate

Lofty, J.; Valero, D. ORCID iD icon 1; Wilson, C. A. M. E.; Franca, M. J. 1; Ouro, P.
1 Institut für Wasser und Gewässerentwicklung (IWG), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)


Microplastic (MP) pollution is a well document threat to our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, however, the mechanisms by which MPs are transported in river flows are still unknown. The transport of MPs and natural sediment in aquatic flows could be somewhat comparable, as particles are similar in size. However, it is unknown how the lower density of MPs and their different material properties impact their transport dynamics. To answer this, novel laboratory experiments on bed load saltation dynamics in an open-channel flow, using high-speed camera imaging and the detection of 11,035 individual saltation events were used to identify the similarities and differences between spherical MPs and spherical natural sediments transport. The tested MPs varied in terms of size and material properties (density and elasticity). Our analysis shows that the Rouse number accurately describes saltation length, height, transport velocity and collision angles equally well for both MPs and natural sediments. Through statistical inference, the distribution functions of saltation trajectory characteristics for MPs were analogous to natural sediment with only one sediment experiment (1.4 % of cases) differing from all other plastic experiments. ... mehr

Volltext §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000162370
Veröffentlicht am 20.09.2023
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Wasser und Gewässerentwicklung (IWG)
Publikationstyp Forschungsbericht/Preprint
Publikationsjahr 2023
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator KITopen-ID: 1000162370
Umfang 45 S.
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 27.03.2023
Nachgewiesen in arXiv
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