A Preliminary Analysis on the Separation of Ultrafine Plastics Particles from Water
The presence of plastics particles, especially in the size range between nano and micrometer, i.e., the ultrafine class, is expected to be severe ecological and human health risks. The separation of ultrafine plastics from aquatic environment is crucial to the characterization and control of plastic materials in water. While plastics appear to be intrinsically inert, nonetheless, three mechanisms can be visualized to contribute charge to plastics surface. First, defects, both edge and bulk, created during synthesis, are the most accessible sites for initiating surface charges through ion adsorption. These edge and bulk defects also provide opportunity for reaction with water molecule, i.e., hydration reaction. Finally, dipole-dipole interaction between water molecules and surface electro-rich atoms such as N, Cl, O and S readily create hydroxo groups. Together, these reactions generate Bronsted acidity on plastics surface.
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