Circular economy projects that assess the environmental impacts of being circular instead of linear.
Our objective is to accelerate the aging of plastic waste (or plastic particles) and generate weathered plastic particles using the NIST SPHERE. Weathered plastic particles will be used for quantitative identification/characterization method development and toxicity testing.
We are developing nanoplastic arrays as innovative reference materials for microspectroscopy calibrations. Our multifunctional standards will enable calibrations of instrument responses and nanoplastic structure–property relationships.
Methods to quantify nano- and microplastics (NMPs) in the environment are being developed in laboratories across the world, but they are not standardized and often result in data that cannot be compared across studies. NIST researchers, in partnership with the Hawaii Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research, are developing optimal methods along the entire workflow, including extraction, purification, and analysis of count, size, shape, polymer identity, and mass of NMPs. Three analytical instruments are being used: Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy, Raman microspectroscopy, and pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry.