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Microplastic transport in surface water-groundwater interactions

Fluorescent plastic polymers
Photo: Loui
Fluorescent plastic polymers

Project description:

Microplastic (MP) particles are an emerging environmental pollutant and are increasingly found primarily in aquatic systems. In this regard, flowing waters have already been identified as linear pathways for microplastics to seas and oceans. Little is known about the transport behavior of MP at the interface between surface water and groundwater and in the hyporheic zone as a porous medium. Therefore, the goal of this research project is to investigate and understand the distribution and hydrodynamic behavior of MP in the flowed-through porous medium.

In addition to the influence of hydrogeological boundary conditions - such as different sediment types, flow velocities, etc. - the influence of the physicochemical properties of the MP itself on their transport behavior will be investigated. In addition, exemplary investigations will be carried out on federal waterways to determine whether MP can be found in the river bed and what their depth distribution is. The results should allow to explore the possibility of using MP as tracers to record flow dynamics and displacement processes in the sediment of the river bed. This in turn offers the possibility to draw conclusions on the scouring at the river bed.


Duration: 2021 - 2024




Constantin Loui

Dr. Matthias Munz


Cooperation partner:

Marco Pittroff, Hermann Lensing (Bundesanstalt für Wasserbau, Karlsruhe)

Marius Bednarz, Claus G. Bannick (Umweltbundesamt, Berlin)

Mathias Bochow (Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam)

Fluorescent plastic polymers
Photo: Loui
Fluorescent plastic polymers

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