Engineers Create Magnetic Powder That Captures Tiny Microplastics

At Melbourne, Australia’s RMIT University, researchers have developed a magnetic powder made from recycled waste that can capture the smallest invisible fragments of microplastic—including pieces that are 1,000 times finer than hair. This in itself sets the material apart from other filters that can only capture larger fragments, but the powder also acts quickly; it’s capable of working within an hour. The powder functions because it has a nano-sized structure that allows it to catch microscopic pieces. “It’s a porous material with a special surface that can react with microplastics,” explains Nicky Eshtiaghi, a chemical engineering professor who led the research team. Once the plastic is caught, it can then be recycled and the material can easily be removed from the water using magnets. Learn more about the innovative new filter at Fast Company.

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