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    Detection and analysis for microplastics originating from the textile industry
    (Graduate School, 2023-01-17) Akyıldız, Sinem Hazal ; Eniş Yalçın, İpek ; Yalçın, Bahattin ; 503191850 ; Innovative Technical Textiles
    The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world in many areas: harmful chemicals used, high energy and water consumption, harmful gases released into the environment, chemicals discharged into water, and textile wastes buried or incinerated in the ground. Nowadays, we are faced with a new problem whose awareness is increasing, and that is microplastics. Microplastic pollution emerges as a critical environmental problem resulting from the decomposition of large-sized plastics into smaller micro- or nano-plastics in nature. There are many sectors that cause the formation of microplastics. At the beginning of these, the textile sector took its place. Petroleum-derived textiles are generally produced from various raw materials such as polyester, polyamide and acrylic, and synthetic fabrics produced from these fibers generate a large amount of microfiber wastes from their production to consumption and even disposal processes. While the wet and dry processes that synthetic fabrics are exposed to in their production processes cause microfibers to mix with air and water, it is a known fact that these fabrics emit a substantial number of microfibers both during the washing process and during daily use from the day they meet the consumer. Each washing of synthetic fabrics in household washing machines causes thousands of microfibers to separate from the fabric. Therefore, the textile industry is one of the leading sectors that cause significant microplastic pollution. These microfibers can then be ingested by marine life and enter the food chain, posing a potential risk to human health. Microplastics are found not only in marine life, but also in areas such as air and soil. For this reason, it has become an inevitable problem in our lives. In fact, in some studies carried out beyond this, it has even been found in caves, underground waters and drinking water. Microplastics, which are found in most animals and people around the world, are known to be bad for health, but how much their effects will get worse over time is still unknown, which is a cause for concern. Studies have proven that microplastics can be reached even in human blood. Therefore, the determination and analysis of microplastics, the number of which is increasing exponentially every day, is very important. There are several ways in which the textile industry can contribute to microplastic pollution: Fabric production: The production of synthetic fabrics generates microfibers as a byproduct. These fibers can be released into the air or water during the manufacturing process. Fabric use: Synthetic fabrics can shed microfibers when they are laundered or worn. These fibers can enter the environment through wastewater treatment plants. Fabric disposal: Synthetic fabrics do not break down easily in the environment and can contribute to plastic pollution when they are discarded. This thesis focuses on the detection and analysis processes of microplastics originating from the textile industry, for which there are not enough studies yet. Within the scope of the studies, the most effective pretreatment and separation techniques were determined for the removal of microplastics from textile wastewater. In addition, the amount of microplastics generated by textile fabrics with various structural components and different raw materials during washing were investigated, and the parameters affecting the process were determined. Experimental studies carried out within the scope of the thesis are examined in three separate sections. We must first correctly identify the problem in order to produce a solution. There is not yet a clear standard method for the detection, separation, and analysis of the microplastic problem we are facing. Based on this, part of this study focused on the necessary steps for the most effective detection, separation and analysis of microplastics originating from the textile industry. The process of removing organic substances by treating artificially obtained textile wastewater with various chemicals constitutes the first experimental stage of the thesis. In this context, various synthetic fibers (acrylic, polyester and polyamide) were dyed at varying temperatures and times, under suitable conditions, and an artificial wastewater was obtained from the dyeing water enriched with extra microfibers. Fenton reagent, H2O2, HCl, KOH and NaOH chemicals were used in various ratios to remove the organic substances in its content. The results obtained at this stage showed that the least damaging pretreatment to the fibers was 15% H2O2. When the results of these chemicals treated at two different temperatures and times are evaluated, it is concluded that the treatment period of 5 days at room temperature is more efficient in terms of energy consumption. After the most effective pretreatment selected in the first stage, second stage starts. This time the processes of removal and analysis of microfibers in industrial textile wastewater were realized. In this context, industrial wastewater was supplied from Kadifeteks company. Centrifugation, density separation and filtration methods were tried to separate microfibers from the pre-treated industrial textile wastewater and as a result, filtration method was chosen as the most suitable separation method. Production, use, and disposal are among the reasons for the release of microplastics originating from the textile industry into the environment. While the first two parts of the study focus on the production phase, the third part focuses on the use phase. Hence in the last stage of the thesis, the evaluation process has been started for the consumption process, which is at least as effective as the production process. In this context, first of all, the structural properties of the fabrics were taken into account, and it was examined how the properties such as the fabric type, thickness, basis weight and raw material type of the fabrics could be effective for microfiber release. For these studies, polyamide, polyester, recycled polyester, acrylic and polypropylene fabrics were provided, and their effects on microfiber release were evaluated by examining the properties of the fabrics. In this context, the washing processes of synthetic fabrics were imitated within the framework of laboratory facilities and the effect of the pre-wash program used in washing was examined. The main purpose of this last stage is to achieve results that can raise awareness among consumers. Since the prewash program is a selectable program in washing machines, determining the amount of microfiber released by the effect of this program is important in terms of consumer awareness. When the results obtained were evaluated, it was found that woven fabrics cause more microfiber release than knitted fabrics, utilizing recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester increases microfiber release, and pre-washing process causes microfiber release at least as much as the washing-rinsing process. One of the aims of this part of the study was to see how much fiber is spread when we wash the synthetic clothes we wear, thus increasing the awareness of consumers and enabling them to change their preferences. Moreover, no study has ever been done before, and the uniqueness of this study was the observation of how much we actually increased the microfiber release into the environment when we chose to pre-wash. Not only do our purchasing habits need to change, but so do our usage habits. Accordingly, it has been found that washing our laundry without a prewash and with a short program will reduce the release of microfibers. When all the results of the experimental processes within the scope of the thesis are evaluated, it can be said that important steps have been taken in terms of the determination, separation and analysis of microfibers in textile wastewater.