Nanomaterials Based Technologies for Identification and Mitigation of Environmental Nano/Microplastics
Ashok VASEASHTA1,2,4,Volodymyr IVANOV3, Yuri DEKTYAR2 and Nimet BOLGEN4
1 - International Clean Water Institute, Manassas, VA, and NJCU – State University of New Jersey, New Jersey, USA
2 - Riga Technical University, Riga, LATVIA
3 - International Biotechnological Programs, Advanced Research Lab, National University of Food Technologies, Kyiv, UKRAINE
4 - Chemical Engineering, Mersin University, Mersin, TURKEY
Abstract: The diversity of polymers and the versatility of their properties have transformed everyday life. While their widespread use, including for disposable aspects was anticipated, some of the recent reports associated with the extent of nano/microplastics environmental pollution was not articulated. Presence of microplastics in treated tap and bottled water have raised questions and concerns about the impact that microplastics in drinking-water might have on human health and aquatic well-being. This poster reviews monitoring and management of nano/microplastics and plastics in the environment to better assess risks associated with human health risks to inform appropriate management actions including several key knowledge gaps. Addressing issue of mitigating microplastics using nanotechnologies offers a wide range of solutions. We present methods that include identification of microplastics and mitigation strategies that include hydrogels, catalytic decomposition, nanofibers and preparing biodegradable polymers. Hydrogels are materials consisting of a permanent, three-dimensional network of hydrophilic polymers and water filling the space between the polymer chains with applications in diverse fields ranging from bio-medical applications and stimuli sensitive systems for agricultural, personal care, environmental, and industrial applications. Using 3D printing technology, we have developed composite structures to capture polymers, large chain hydrocarbons, including pharmaceuticals. Although, the investigation is in its preliminary stages, we anticipate using meta-materials as catalysts to detect and capture organic materials, volatile organic compounds, as an extension of our work on capturing pharmaceuticals. Since, hydrogel composites contain cellulose fibrils derived from wood, response to environment is likely to produce bio-mimicking to external stimuli. Additional anticipated methods range from separation of micro-plastics and specialized polymers used by the healthcare industries. However, to reap benefits of plastics while keeping pollution to a minimum, it is critical to identify specific uses that offer clear advantages and to refine national and international standards and associated product labeling to indicate appropriate usage and appropriate disposal methods.
Keywords: Microplastics, Nanophotonics, Additive processes, 4D printing, bio-mimicking