Paper No. 182-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
THE EFFECT OF PLASTIC PARTICLES ON HEAT TRANSFER AND RETENTION IN SAND
Plastic has become ubiquitous in the environment. It is arguably the most pervasive anthropogenic material in the environment. It can be found virtually everywhere on the planet from the summit of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Plastic and microplastics pose many problems in the environment including leaching of chemicals, ingestion or entanglement by wildlife and changes in the physical properties of sand and soil. In this study, we investigated the effect of micro-plastic particles on heat transfer in quartz sand. The anthropogenic effect plastic has on sediment heat retention and insulation properties could be affecting different parts of the environment. For example, many reptiles have Temperature Sex Dependent (TSD) eggs. TSD eggs selectively produce clutches of mainly male, or female eggs depending upon the temperature of the sand or sediment during incubation. Plastic may also be affecting plants since they rely on different temperature thresholds to grow. Different plant communities foster the formation of different dune shapes, thereby affecting coastal geomorphology Our pilot study sought to find trends in the flux of the temperature of sand due to various plastics added into the sand matrix. We measured the effects of PVC powder, shredded grocery store plastic shopping bags, and commercial grade polystyrene (Styrofoam) pellets at different concentrations on the rate that sand absorbed and lost heat. Significant changes in heat flux were observed.