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Open AccessArticle

Transport of Microplastic Particles in Saturated Porous Media

1
Department of Soil and Water Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
2
Department of Environmental Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
3
College of Pratacultural and Environmental Science, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Urumqi 830052, Xinjiang, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(12), 2474; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122474
Received: 5 October 2019 / Revised: 10 November 2019 / Accepted: 16 November 2019 / Published: 24 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Colloid and Pathogen Transport in Groundwater)
This study used polystyrene latex colloids as model microplastic particles (MPs) and systematically investigated their retention and transport in glass bead-packed columns. Different pore volumes (PVs) of MP influent suspension were first injected into the columns at different ionic strengths (ISs). The breakthrough curves (BTCs) were obtained by measuring the MP concentrations of the effluents. Column dissection was then implemented to obtain retention profiles (RPs) of the MPs by measuring the concentration of attached MPs at different column depths. The results showed that the variation in the concentrations of retained MPs with depth changed from monotonic to non-monotonic with the increase in the PV of the injected influent suspension and solution IS. The non-monotonic retention was attributed to blocking of MPs and transfer of these colloids among collectors in the down-gradient direction. The BTCs were well simulated by the convection-diffusion equation including two types of first-order kinetic deposition (i.e., reversible and irreversible attachment). However, this model could not well simulate the non-monotonic retention profiles due to the fact that the transfer of colloids among collectors was not considered. The results in this study are critical to developing models to simulate the fate and transport of MPs in porous media such as soil. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastic particles; retention; transport; porous media microplastic particles; retention; transport; porous media
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Chu, X.; Li, T.; Li, Z.; Yan, A.; Shen, C. Transport of Microplastic Particles in Saturated Porous Media. Water 2019, 11, 2474.

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