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Chin. Phys. B, 2022, Vol. 31(11): 118104    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ac6161

Enrichment of microplastic pollution by micro-nanobubbles

Jing Wang(王菁)1,3,4,5, Zihan Wang(王子菡)2,6, Fangyuan Pei(裴芳源)2,7, and Xingya Wang(王兴亚)3,5,†
1 Key Laboratory of Interfacial Physics and Technology, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China;
2 Shanghai No.;
3 Girls'High School, Shanghai 200050, China;
3 Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201204, China;
4 School of Physical Science and Technology, Shanghai Tech University, Shanghai 201204, China;
5 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
6 East China University of Political Science and Law, Shanghai 201620, China;
7 University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, Shanghai 200093, China
Abstract  Microplastic pollution has become a global environmental concern. It has been reported that microplastics are easily accessible to a wide range of aquatic organisms and ultimately enter the human body along the food chain. They pose a severe threat to ecosystems, organisms and even human health due to their durability and persistence. However, how to reduce microplastic pollution still remains a challenge in terms of scientific techniques and policy-making. There is currently still a lack of effective methods for microplastic recycling and removal. Luckily, a new technique, micro-nanobubbles (MNBs), may provide a possible and highly effective method to enrich microplastic pollution: their great advantages[1] include a high specific surface area, long lifetime and ability to adsorb microplastics of the same size and hydrophobicity. Then they further adsorb on larger bubbles such as microbubbles or millimeter bubbles and float to the water surface together. In this study, we present a new method using MNBs to enrich microplastic pollution with high efficiency. Two types of microplastics, millimeter-scale plastic fragments and microplastic particles, were chosen as the model microplastic pollution systems to study the enrichment efficiency of MNBs on microplastics. Results showed that MNBs can efficiently enrich these microplastics. The enrichment efficiency increases with flotation time until a maximum value is reached. It is proved that MNBs not only collect the microplastic pollution but also reduce detergent use in domestic laundry sewage. This is because detergent, as a surfactant, is easily absorbed on the surface of MNBs and can be collected together with the microplastic pollution. Our research has demonstrated that the MNB technique could be promising for use in microplastic recycling and reducing detergent pollution in daily life.
Keywords:  microplastics      nanobubbles      enrichment efficiency  
Received:  15 October 2021      Revised:  11 March 2022      Accepted manuscript online:  28 March 2022
PACS:  81.07.-b (Nanoscale materials and structures: fabrication and characterization)  
  61.41.+e (Polymers, elastomers, and plastics)  
  47.55.D- (Drops and bubbles)  
  92.20.Ny (Marine pollution)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11874379 and 11575281) and the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. QYZDJ-SSW-SLH019).
Corresponding Authors:  Xingya Wang     E-mail:

Cite this article: 

Jing Wang(王菁), Zihan Wang(王子菡), Fangyuan Pei(裴芳源), and Xingya Wang(王兴亚) Enrichment of microplastic pollution by micro-nanobubbles 2022 Chin. Phys. B 31 118104

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