Citizen Science Guide to “Forensically” Analyze Plastics | #citizenscience @PublicLab
From nurdles to plastic density, from scrutinizing microfibres to recognizing foams, check out this fabulous handy guide by maxliboiron over at Public Lab:
One of the main problems of working with microplastics is that they can be difficult to tell apart from non-plastics. In my own lab, beginners can have up to an ~80% error rate where they either fail to identify some things as plastics, or identify non-plastics as plastics by mistake. This guide is designed to help reduce that margin of error so you can be more sure of what you’ve found.
This guide assumes you are working with samples from BabyLegs, and have prepared your sample by sorting and drying it, though it can be generalized to microplastics found in other ways.
A dissecting microscope. Dissecting scopes are different than compound microscopes, which are more common. Dissecting scopes have a larger working area on the stage (the place where you put the sample) and a lower magnification. If you don’t have one, you can use a handheld/USB microscope (such as these), or even a magnifying glass. The less sophisticated your viewing system, the more likely you are to make an error.
A glass or plastic petri dish, watch glass, or other flat, shallow container to look at your sample under the microscope with.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.