ORONO, Maine — Amid rising concerns on microplastics found in oceans, rivers and at times drinking water, researchers at the University of Maine are taking a closer look at determining the absorption of PFAS.
Spearheaded by Ph.D. student Dilara Hatinoglu, students and researchers found out that by using a statistical model, they can calculate if a specific microplastic would absorb PFAS chemicals.
"So if you know the statistical properties of the PFAS you're interested in, you can simply run an algebraic operation to estimate how much it would absorb," project advisor Omur Apul said.
The model is based off of an already existing type known as a predictive, linear solvation energy relationships model, according to the university's website.
The equation can also be used to show at what concentration PFAS is absorbed, either in salt or fresh water.
Apul also works closely with other projects under the university that focus on the PFAS pollution crisis and its impacts. He says that by using this new equation, it can speed up new processes for the removal of PFAS.
"Basically, it helps us overcome the costly, laborious and intensive experimental work that we need to do," Apul added.
Funded by The National Science Foundation, this research is a part of an even bigger goal to gain a better understanding between microplastics and other chemicals.