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Degradation of microplastics in the environment : dissertation
Vaibhav Budhiraja, 2024, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Plastics are based on organic polymers that are sensitive to the environment in which they find themselves and will gradually decay through a variety of chemical reactions. This process is of great importance for the transformation and persistence of microplastics (MPs) that pollute the environment. The rate of degradation depends on two major factors: Firstly, the intrinsic properties of the polymers, such as chemical structure, molecular weight, crystallinity and the presence of additives, fillers or reinforcement and secondly, the environment to which they are exposed. The degradation rate of plastic will vary in different environmental matrices like soil, freshwater, seawater, wastewater, land etc., as well as in diverse environmental conditions like UV radiation, temperature, humidity, the effect of pollutants etc. Plastic mainly undergoes two fundamental reactions: oxidation and hydrolysis and the chemical structure of the polymer and its additives plays a key role in the degradation mechanism of plastic. Polyolefins having a carbon-only main chain are resistant to hydrolysis but susceptible to oxidation, whereas polyesters and polyamides containing heteroatoms are sensitive to hydrolysis and much more resistant to oxidation. In the context of the present work, five different studies were done involving both naturally degraded plastic and accelerated weathering of plastics in the form of small particles, MPs. In the first study, natural degraded polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) samples with a life span of more than forty years were collected from the environment and their physiochemical properties were analysed. The results show that red coloured PE samples were more degraded as compared to blue coloured samples, indicating that pigment plays a key role in the degradation. The PP sample shows extreme surface degradation, leading to fragmentation and the generation of MPs. In the second study, the effect of hydrodynamic cavitation on MPs in waste water treatment plant sludge was evaluated. PE, PP, polyethylene terephthalate and polyamide were extracted from the sludge. It was found that hydrodynamic cavitation does not disintegrate the MPs, although it removes some toxic metals and shows cell disruption mechanisms. Other studies were done with accelerated weathered MPs, which include PE, PP and tire wear particles (TWP), that were treated in accordance with an ISO 4892 standard weathering procedure that mimics natural weathered conditions. In the third study, we used weathered PE films to evaluate the synergistic adsorption behaviour of two pollutants, namely triclosan (TCS) and methylparaben (MeP). It was found that weathered MPs adsorb more pollutants and the adsorption behaviour of TCS is enhanced in the presence of MeP. In the fourth study, the magnetic extraction of pristine and weathered PE and TWP particles was performed. The results confirmed that the magnetic VI extraction of weathered MPs is difficult as compared to pristine MPs as their surface becomes more hydrophilic with weathering. In the fifth study, the effect of weathering on the density of PE and PP was evaluated. We found that weathering enhances the density of polyolefins, which is one of the main reasons for the observed sinking of polyolefin MPs in water.
Keywords: accelerated weathering, aging, density, magnetic separation, pigment, plastic degradation, pollutants, polyethylene, polyolefin, polypropylene, sinking, tire wear particles, dissertations
Published in RUNG: 04.06.2024; Views: 522; Downloads: 0
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Formation and growth of atmospheric nanoparticles in the eastern Mediterranean : results from long-term measurements and process simulations
Nikos Kalivitis, Veli-Matti Kerminen, Giorgos Kouvarakis, Iasonas Stavroulas, Evaggelia Tzitzikalaki, Panayiotis Kalkavouras, Nikos Daskalakis, Stelios Myriokefalitakis, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, Hanna E. Manninen, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) is a common phenomenon all over the world. In this study we present the longest time series of NPF records in the eastern Mediterranean region by analyzing 10 years of aerosol number size distribution data obtained with a mobility particle sizer. The measurements were performed at the Finokalia environmental research station on Crete, Greece, during the period June 2008–June 2018. We found that NPF took place on 27 % of the available days, undefined days were 23 % and non-event days 50 %. NPF is more frequent in April and May probably due to the terrestrial biogenic activity and is less frequent in August. Throughout the period under study, nucleation was observed also during the night. Nucleation mode particles had the highest concentration in winter and early spring, mainly because of the minimum sinks, and their average contribution to the total particle number concentration was 8 %. Nucleation mode particle concentrations were low outside periods of active NPF and growth, so there are hardly any other local sources of sub-25 nm particles. Additional atmospheric ion size distribution data simultaneously collected for more than 2 years were also analyzed. Classification of NPF events based on ion spectrometer measurements differed from the corresponding classification based on a mobility spectrometer, possibly indicating a different representation of local and regional NPF events between these two measurement data sets. We used the MALTE-Box model for simulating a case study of NPF in the eastern Mediterranean region. Monoterpenes contributing to NPF can explain a large fraction of the observed NPF events according to our model simulations. However the adjusted parameterization resulting from our sensitivity tests was significantly different from the initial one that had been determined for the boreal environment.
Keywords: particles, number size distributions, new particle formation, regional background, SMPS, Eastern Mediterannean
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 394; Downloads: 2
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When tense shifts expressive presuppositions : hani and monstrous semantics
Furkan Dikmen, Elena Guerzoni, Ömer Demirok, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Keywords: temporal indexical shift, Turkish, discourse particles
Published in RUNG: 21.02.2024; Views: 738; Downloads: 2
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Insights into the size-resolved dust emission from field measurements in the Moroccan Sahara
Cristina González-Flórez, Martina Klose, Andrés Alastuey, Sylvain Dupont, Jerónimo Escribano, Vicken Etyemezian, Adolfo Gonzalez-Romero, Yue Huang, Konrad Kandler, Jesús Yus-Díez, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: Atmospheric mineral dust consists of tiny mineral particles that are emitted by wind erosion from arid regions. Its particle size distribution (PSD) affects its impact on the Earth's system. Nowadays, there is an incomplete understanding of the emitted dust PSD and a lot of debate about its variability. Here, we try to address these issues based on the measurements performed during a wind erosion and dust emission field campaign in the Moroccan Sahara within the framework of FRAGMENT project.
Keywords: aerosol particles, mineral dust, emission processes, climate
Published in RUNG: 23.10.2023; Views: 1243; Downloads: 5
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Constraints on BSM particles from the absence of upward-going air showers in the Pierre Auger Observatory
Baobiao Yue, Andrej Filipčič, Jon Paul Lundquist, Shima Ujjani Shivashankara, Samo Stanič, Serguei Vorobiov, Danilo Zavrtanik, Marko Zavrtanik, 2023, published scientific conference contribution

Abstract: The Fluorescence Detector (FD) of the Pierre Auger Observatory has a large exposure to search for upward-going showers. Constraints have been recently obtained by using 14 years of FD data searching for upward-going showers in the zenith angle range [110◦, 180◦]. In this work, we translate these bounds to upper limits of a possible flux of ultra high energy tau-leptons escaping from the Earth into the atmosphere. Such a mechanism could explain the observation of "anomalous pulses" made by ANITA, that indicated the existence of upward-going air showers with energies above 10[sup]17 eV. As tau neutrinos would be absorbed within the Earth at the deduced angles and energies, a flux of upward-going taus could only be resulted from an unknown type of ultra high energy Beyond Standard Model particle penetrating the Earth with little attenuation, and then creating tau-leptons through interactions within a maximum depth of about 50 km before exiting. We test classes of such models in a generic way and determine upper flux limits of ultra high energy BSM particles as a function of their unknown cross section with matter.
Keywords: ultra-high energy cosmic rays, Pierre Auger Observatory, fluorescence detector, upward-going air showers, Beyond Standard Model particles
Published in RUNG: 26.09.2023; Views: 956; Downloads: 6
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Rasheed Pattan, 2022, master's thesis

Abstract: Metal stamping is a cold-forming process that uses dies and stamping presses to convert sheet metal into desired geometries. The metal stamping process leaves residues on stamped components such as releasing agents, metal shavings, and other contaminants as they exit the press. These impurities hinder the functionality of the components. Therefore, they are required to be eliminated before the stamped sheets are assembled on the production line. Contaminant metal particles on the surfaces hinder the functionality of the components and eventually promote mechanical wear between the moving parts. It is consequently difficult to eradicate contaminants, as their adhesion is inevitable, the contaminants being at a range of a few micrometres to sub-micrometres. The myriad shape configuration of the present metallic and non-metallic contaminants posed a challenge to reaching the cleanliness standards desired by the quality of the product. We aim to develop an automated decontamination process to improve product quality, with an optimized production cycle, and cost-effectiveness. Fibres non-metallic particles are also necessarily rid from the surfaces of the component. In this study, the prime focus is on metallic contaminants, excluding the non-metallic fibrous contaminants that were present. Three viable techniques are opted for based on their feasibility on production line incorporation potential. Namely, Mechanical vibration, Pressurized air-blowing, and Ultrasonic cleaning. However, to achieve the greatest possible outcome, the three different techniques are weighed against each other.
Keywords: Components, Ultrasonic, Vibration, Air-blow, Metallic Particles, Contamination, Technical Cleanliness, Lamination.
Published in RUNG: 26.08.2022; Views: 1502; Downloads: 49
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Ultra-fast silicon detectors for CERN’S high-luminosity large hadron collider : written report
Adrián González Briones, 2022, research project (high school)

Keywords: standard silicon detectors, ionized particles, hadrontherapy, particle physics
Published in RUNG: 15.06.2022; Views: 1680; Downloads: 0
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Ice cloud formation potential by free tropospheric particles from long-range transport over the Northern Atlantic Ocean
Swarup China, Peter A. Alpert, Bo Zhang, Simeon K. Schum, Katja Džepina, Kendra Wright, R. Chris Owen, Paulo Fialho, Lynn R. Mazzoleni, Claudio Mazzoleni, 2017, original scientific article

Abstract: Long-range transported free tropospheric particles can play a significant role on heterogeneous ice nucleation. Using optical and electron microscopy we examine the physicochemical characteristics of ice nucleating particles (INPs). Particles were collected on substrates from the free troposphere at the remote Pico Mountain Observatory in the Azores Islands, after long-range transport and aging over the Atlantic Ocean. We investigate four specific events to study the ice formation potential by the collected particles with different ages and transport patterns. We use single-particle analysis, as well as bulk analysis to characterize particle populations. Both analyses show substantial differences in particle composition between samples from the four events; in addition, single-particle microscopy analysis indicates that most particles are coated by organic material. The identified INPs contained mixtures of dust, aged sea salt and soot, and organic material acquired either at the source or during transport. The temperature and relative humidity (RH) at which ice formed, varied only by 5% between samples, despite differences in particle composition, sources, and transport patterns. We hypothesize that this small variation in the onset RH may be due to the coating material on the particles. This study underscores and motivates the need to further investigate how long-range transported and atmospherically aged free tropospheric particles impact ice cloud formation.
Keywords: atmospheric aerosols, ice nucleating particles, long-range transport, optical microscopy, electron microscopy, Pico Mountain Observatory
Published in RUNG: 11.04.2021; Views: 2689; Downloads: 134
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Scrutinizing FR 0 radio galaxies as ultra-high-energy cosmic ray source candidates
Lukas Merten, Margot Boughelilba, Anita Reimer, Paolo Da Vela, Serguei Vorobiov, Fabrizio Tavecchio, Giacomo Bonnoli, Jon Paul Lundquist, Chiara Righi, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Fanaroff-Riley (FR) 0 radio galaxies compose a new class of radio galaxies, which are usually weaker but much more numerous than the well-established class of FR 1 and FR 2 galaxies. The latter classes have been proposed as sources of the ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) with energies reaching up to eV. Based on this conjecture, the possibility of UHECR acceleration and survival in an FR 0 source environment is examined in this work. In doing so, an average spectral energy distribution (SED) based on data from the FR 0 catalog (FR0CAT) is compiled. The resulting photon fields are used as targets for UHECRs, which suffer from electromagnetic pair production, photo-disintegration, photo-meson production losses, and synchrotron radiation. Multiple mechanisms are discussed to assess the UHECR acceleration probability, including Fermi-I order and gradual shear accelerations, and particle escape from the source region. This work shows that in a hybrid scenario, combining Fermi and shear accelerations, FR 0 galaxies can contribute to the observed UHECR flux, as long as where shear acceleration starts to dominate over escape. Even in less optimistic scenarios, FR 0s can be expected to contribute to the cosmic-ray flux between the knee and the ankle. Our results are relatively robust with respect to the realized magnetic turbulence model and the speed of the accelerating shocks.
Keywords: acceleration of particles, nonthermal radiation mechanisms, jets, active galaxies, cosmic rays
Published in RUNG: 05.02.2021; Views: 2878; Downloads: 0
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