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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.590565

Wave-induced distribution of microplastic in the surf zone Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Ludwig Franzius Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, Estuary and Coastal Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
  • 2Institute for Technical Chemistry, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
  • 3Institute of Building Materials Science, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany

In this study, the wave-induced distribution of 13 microplastic (MP) samples of different size, shape and density was investigated in a wave flume with a sandy mobile beach bed profile. The particle parameter were chosen based on an occurrence probability investigated from the field. MP abundances were analyzed in cross-shore and vertical direction of the test area after < 40,000 regular waves. It was found, that MP particles accumulated in more shallow waters with increasing size and density. Particles with high density (ρ>1.25g/cm^3 ) were partly stratified during the formation of the bed profile. Particles a density lower than the water floated constantly or deposited on the beach. A correlation was found between the settling velocity of the MP particles and the flow velocity at the accumulation point and a power function equation developed. The obtained results were critically discussed with findings from the field and further laboratory studies.

Keywords: Plastic, pollution, Nearshore zone, waves, transport mechanisms, Settling velocity, Morphodynamics, Grain sorting, beach, Shoreline

Received: 01 Aug 2020; Accepted: 23 Oct 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Kerpen, Schlurmann, Schendel, Gundlach, Marquard and Hüpgen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Nils B. Kerpen, Ludwig Franzius Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, Estuary and Coastal Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Leibniz University Hannover, Hannover, Germany, kerpen@lufi.uni-hannover.de