A multi-scale framework for modeling transport of microplastics during sand filtration: Bridging from pore to continuum

Seung Ji Lim, Jangwon Seo, Myeongwon Hwang, Hee Chang Kim, Eun Ju Kim, Jaesang Lee, Seok Won Hong, Seunghak Lee, Jaeshik Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The fate and transport of microplastics (MPs) during deep bed filtration were investigated using combined laboratory experiments and numerical modeling. A series of column experiments were conducted within the designated ranges of six operating parameters (i.e., size of the MP and collector, seepage velocity, porosity, temperature, and ionic strength). A variance-based sensitivity analysis, the Fourier amplitude sensitivity test, was conducted to determine the priority in affecting both the attachment coefficient at the pore scale, and the subsequent stabilized height of the breakthrough curve at the continuum scale, which follows non-monotonic trends with singularity in the size of MP (i.e., 1 µm). Finally, Damkohler numbers were introduced to analyze the dominant mechanisms (e.g., attachment, detachment, or straining) in the coupled hydro-chemical process. The robustness of conceptual frameworks bridges the gap between pore-scale interactions and the explicit MPs removal in the continuum scale, which could support decision-making in determining the priority of parameters to retain MPs during deep bed filtration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number130219
JournalJournal of hazardous materials
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through the Subsurface Environment Management (SEM) Project ( 2021002470004 ) funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) . The authors also acknowledge the support from the Future Research Program ( 2E31932 ), funded by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) . The authors would like to thank Yujin Jung (a former internship student at KIST) for assisting with the experiments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Breakthrough curve
  • Damkohler number
  • Microplastics
  • Sand filtration
  • Sensitivity analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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