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DiMiFi - Dielectrophoretic filters for particle separation and their exemplary application for the removal of microplastics from wastewater generated in the cleaning industry

During the production, processing, use and disposal of plastic products, 330,000 tonnes of microplastics are released into the environment every year in Germany. Microplastics are plastics with a diameter

The input of microplastics into the (aquatic) environment is a growing problem and is increasingly viewed critically. The European Commission has recommended that in the short and medium term, industry should be required to take measures to reduce the release or to retain (treat process and wastewater) microplastics. Particularly in the case of filters for the separation of small particles, there is a risk of blocking.

The aim of the research project is therefore an innovative process for the removal of microplastics from process and wastewater based on tufted, dielectrophoretic filters. In dielectrophoresis, particle separation takes place with the help of electric fields acting between an insulating component (dielectric). The advantage of this approach is that, compared to conventional filters, the distance between the individual components does not have to be smaller than the diameter of the particles to be separated. This results in a significantly lower pressure drop and reduces the risk of the filter becoming blocked. In addition, a broad spectrum of polymer particles should be separated by the filter.

Special tufting structures are being developed as filter media, with yarns made of non-conductive inorganic materials (e.g. basalt) and, at regular intervals, electrically conductive yarns (e.g. stainless steel fibre yarns) as electrodes. Dielectrophoretic particle retention, including suitable process parameters, is being researched on the filter modules.

In the first step, the geometries of a textile dielectrophoretic filter are simulated. For the production of the filter modules, a tufting machine will be modified to ensure the safe processing of the non-elastic inorganic and metallic yarns. The materials are selected considering the chemical and physical properties of the wastewater to be treated. Based on the simulation results, the machine parameters are determined and the filters are manufactured. These filters are evaluated in the laboratory and further developed in subsequent steps.

Funding program and project number

IGF 22990 N / 2


01.06.2023 - 31.05.2025



Christian Goetz

Phone: +49 241 9679-160



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