Wave-Induced Distribution of Microplastic in the Surf Zone

Last modified: 
December 28, 2020 - 6:55pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2020
Date published: 11/2020
Authors: Nils Kerpen, Torsten Schlurmann, Alexander Schendel, Jannek Gundlach, Daniel Marquard, Markus Hüpgen
Journal title: Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume: 7

In this study, the wave-induced distribution of 13 microplastic (MP) samples of different size, shape, and density was investigated in a wave flume with a sandy mobile beach bed profile. The particle parameter were chosen based on an occurrence probability investigated from the field. MP abundances were analyzed in cross-shore and vertical direction of the test area after over 40,000 regular waves. It was found, that MP particles accumulated in more shallow waters with increasing size and density. Particles with high density (ρs>1.25 g/cm3ρs>1.25 g/cm3) have been partly confined into deeper layers of the sloping beach during the formation of the bed profile. Particles with a density lower than that of water used in the experiments floated constantly in the surf zone or deposited on the beach caused by wave run-up. A correlation was found between the settling velocity of the MP particles and the flow velocity at the accumulation point and a power function equation developed. The obtained results were critically discussed with findings from the field and further laboratory studies.

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