Microfibers are tiny pieces of plastics released in the water during mechanical stress, particularly washing. Wastewater eventually flows into sewage and larger bodies of water, remaining indefinitely or entering the food chain.
What quantities of microfibers and thus of microplastic are released from textiles? A new method for analyzing microfiber shedding from textiles has been developed by the Hohenstein Institute, Bönnigheim/Germany. It is the result of 4 years of research at Hohenstein Institute and published in the PhD thesis by Jasmin Haap.
Dynamic image analysis is used to determine not only the mass, but also the number, length, shape and diameter of the detached fibers. The sample is not destroyed, so that additional tests can be carried out for further analysis. With this level of detail, researchers and users in the field of textiles can now quantify in more detail which types of fiber and material constructions contribute most to microfiber release. The method is therefore leading to informed decisions in the development of more sustainable textiles and production processes.