EGU2020-3331, updated on 08 Feb 2021
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

An experimental investigation of microplastic transport in fluvial systems

Jan-Pascal Boos1, Benjamin-Silas Gilfedder1,2, Hassan Elagami1, and Sven Frei1
Jan-Pascal Boos et al.
  • 1Department of Hydrology, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany
  • 2Limnological Research Station, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447 Bayreuth, Germany

Although a major part of marine microplastic (MP) pollution originates from rivers and streams, the mechanistic behavior of MP in fluvial systems is only poorly understood. MP enter fluvial systems from e.g. waste water treatment plant (WWTP) effluents, sewer overflows during heavy rain events, agricultural runoff, aerial input/atmospheric fallout, road runoff or via fragmentation of plastic litter. As part of this project we want to investigate the hydrodynamic transport mechanisms that control the behavior and re-distribution of MP in open channel flow and the streambed sediments. Hydrodynamic conditions in open channel flow are represented in an experimental flume environment.  Different porous media materials (e.g. aqua beads, glass beads and sand) are used in the flume experiments to shape typical bed form structures such as riffle-pool sequences, ripples and dunes. The aim of this experimental setup is to create hydrodynamic flow conditions such as hydraulic jumps, low and high flow velocity environments for which the transport and sedimentation behavior of MP can be investigated under realistic conditions. Hydrodynamic flow conditions in the flume are characterized using a Laser-Doppler-Anemometry (LDA) and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Detection and tracking of fluorescent MP-particles in open channel flow and in porous media will be achieved with a fluorescence-camera-system.

How to cite: Boos, J.-P., Gilfedder, B.-S., Elagami, H., and Frei, S.: An experimental investigation of microplastic transport in fluvial systems , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3331,, 2020

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 02 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-3331, Dirk Schaefer, 05 May 2020

    Hi there,
    your work looks very interesting to me. What kind of fluorescent MP-particles do you use for your experiment? Do you have several types with different densities?

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Jan-Pascal Boos, 05 May 2020

      Hi Dirk,

      Thanks a lot for your interest in our research! For now, we are using particles between 1 and 40 µm which are fluorescent in the green spectrum. We start with PS but in a later stage we will also vary the polymer types.

      Best Jan-Pascal