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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Mark M. Baskaran


Ubiquitous presence of plastic debris in global oceans, lakes and streams/rivers is a result of large-scale use of plastics in this period of human history, known as plastic age. These micro-plastic particles could serve as scavenging agents in the removal of dissolved particle reactive trace metals, radionuclides and other contaminants in aqueous system. To quantify the partitioning of a suite of commonly utilized radioactive isotopes (234Th, half-life (T1/2 = 24.1 d), 210Pb (T1/2 = 22.3 y), 207Bi (proxy for 210Bi (T1/2 = 5.0 d), 210Po (T1/2 = 138.4 d), 226Ra (T1/2 = 1,600 y) and 137Cs (T1/2 = 30.0 y)) between micro-plastic solids and water, a series of experiments were conducted. The partitioning coefficients for three different micro-plastic material (Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polystyrene (PS) and Polyamide (PA) at different pH, salinities and contacted times were determined. Partitioning coefficients were the highest for 210Po and the lowest for 137Cs for all three microplastic material. The fractionation factor between 210Po and 210Pb (FPo/Pb), 207Bi and 210Po (FBi/Po), 210Pb and 234Th (FPb/Th) and 137Cs and 226Ra (FPb/Ra) were calculated for all three micro-plastic material. The present study shows that 210Po has the highest and 137Cs the lowest partitioning coefficient for all micro-plastic material.

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