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Microplastics from thermosetting resins

Microplastics derived from thermoplastics are today a well-known problem. But can thermosetting resins also cause harmful microplastics? In the project Microplastics from thermosetting resins, RISE will examine how composites are affected by UV light, abrasion and leaching, and whether thermosetting resins, can degrade into microplastics.

In recent years, the problem of microplastics has become increasingly aware. Scientific studies show that microplastics can cause damage to the marine environment and that we humans get microplastics in us when we drink water and eat seafood.

Much of the microplastics comes from the large amount of waste in our oceans, where plastics are degraded into smaller and smaller particles and form microplastics. They also come from products such as tires, clothing, cosmetics, detergents and body care products. Common to these microplastics is that they come from thermoplastics. While awareness of microplastics from thermoplastics is increasing, so is use of thermosetting resins.

Aim to examine thermosetting resins

Thermosetting composites offer many attractive properties that are suitable for high-performance products in for example the sectors of automotive, marine, transport, aviation and wind power. Thermosetting composites are light in relation to metals, they do not corrode and you have the opportunity to customize properties for different applications. Thanks to its attractive properties, the composite market is expected to grow, despite the risk of negative environmental consequences.

It is therefore of utmost importance to ensure that the environmental impact is minimized or absent when using thermosetting resins and thermosetting composites.

The project Microplastics from thermosetting resins will examine whether external influences such as UV light, abrasion, leaching can produce microplastics. The project will focus thermosetting composites in different environments such as salt water, water and sediment.

The aim of the project is to learn more about the sources of microplastics and minimize the risk of rising fear and suspicion of all plastic materials, even if many of them are shown to be relatively harmless with respect to contaminants. 


Summary

Project name

Microplastics from composites

Status

Active

RISE role in project

Project manager and executor

Project start

Duration

5 months

Total budget

595 000 SEK

Funders

Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Supports the UN sustainability goals

6. Clean water and sanitation
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
13. Climate action
14. Life below water

Contact person

Peter Mannberg

Senior forskare

+46 10 228 49 51
peter.mannberg@ri.se

Read more about Peter