School

School of Humanities and Sciences

Department

Environmental Studies and Sciences

ICC Theme

Other

Date

2-4-2019 8:50 AM

Abstract

The identification of synthetic fibers via polarized light microscopy serves as an essential starting point for understanding how microfibers and microplastics can be identified in wastewater effluent samples. Fiber analysis in effluent and surface waters is important in toxicology, as fibers enter the digestive tract and can obstruct normal function in aquatic organisms. For this study, effluent samples from the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility are vacuum-filtered and transferred onto watch glass vesicles for analysis. Further investigation is being done to prevent the contamination of samples from external sources, such as clothing or other airborne fibers. Synthetic fibers have birefringent “fingerprints” under both polarized and non-polarized light, a characteristic that is used in forensic investigations. The known definition for birefringence states: that it is the optical property of a material having a refractive index that depends on the polarization and propagation direction of light. In this case the retractive light is coming from the synthetic fibers. Fibers refract one or more notable colors; each fiber will vary in color as they all have different “fingerprints”. To be able to identify the different fibers in effluent, a catalog of fiber images and their birefringence values using the Michel-Lévy birefringence chart was produced. This catalog was built by using known fiber samples

Document Type

Poster

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Apr 2nd, 8:50 AM

Fiber Identification in Wastewater Effluent Using Polarized Light Microscopy

The identification of synthetic fibers via polarized light microscopy serves as an essential starting point for understanding how microfibers and microplastics can be identified in wastewater effluent samples. Fiber analysis in effluent and surface waters is important in toxicology, as fibers enter the digestive tract and can obstruct normal function in aquatic organisms. For this study, effluent samples from the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility are vacuum-filtered and transferred onto watch glass vesicles for analysis. Further investigation is being done to prevent the contamination of samples from external sources, such as clothing or other airborne fibers. Synthetic fibers have birefringent “fingerprints” under both polarized and non-polarized light, a characteristic that is used in forensic investigations. The known definition for birefringence states: that it is the optical property of a material having a refractive index that depends on the polarization and propagation direction of light. In this case the retractive light is coming from the synthetic fibers. Fibers refract one or more notable colors; each fiber will vary in color as they all have different “fingerprints”. To be able to identify the different fibers in effluent, a catalog of fiber images and their birefringence values using the Michel-Lévy birefringence chart was produced. This catalog was built by using known fiber samples

 

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