How to make and see Microplastic fibres from clothing
How to make and see microplastic fibres from clothing
The aim of this activity is to make fibres from material which is made from plastic fibres.
The fibres seen will have come from the material so can be identified as microplastic fibres.
- A piece of clothing made from polyester ( eg teeshirt, fleece). The material can be polyester, nylon, viscose, lycra, elastane, rayon, but not cotton or wool. The material should be about 5 cm square.
- Water, filtered so it does not contain any fibres
- Jar to wash the material in
- Filter funnel
- Filter paper
- Jar to collect filtered water
- Note pad and pencil
Plan of action
Wash the piece of material in water in a clean jar.
Remove the material and discard
Pour the water through the filter paper
Open the filter paper until it is flat.
Look at the filter paper under the microscope at x20 then x40
Identify and count the microplastic fibres on the filter.
Discard the filtered water
Document the number, colour, size of fibres seen.
Pour clean water through a filter paper and show no fibres on the filter paper. This shows that any fibres seen in the experiment are from the piece of material washed, as the filter paper and water did not contain microplastic fibres.
Standard laboratory practice only. No extra risks .
Microplastic fibres are released from the piece of material and can be caught in the filter paper.
Discuss if the results matter. What further experiments can be done?