Environmental pollution caused by microplastics and nanoplastics is a ubiquitous problem which cannot be tackled using currently available cleaning concepts. Researchers at FAU have now demonstrated how magnets could be used to remove plastic particles of various types and sizes from water.
They used non-toxic, specially coated iron oxide nanoparticles known as SPIONs which they engineered specifically to bond with plastic surfaces. The SPIONs clump together with the plastic particles to form agglomerates which can then be easily collected using magnets thanks to the iron oxide they contain. The researchers have published their findings in the journal Materials Today.