The development of the washing machine filter is very demanding as the filter itself should not lose any plastic particles during use and must be robust. It must also not cause any additional technical or financial effort and must be integrated into the existing washing machine system. As a result, both material and process engineering aspects are investigated. The focus lies on the use of bio-based polymers. The materials are tested in a test rig and the filter process optimized.
The filter concept is based on biological models. There are numerous organisms in nature that specialize in food in particle form, such as zooplankton and phytoplankton. They are grouped together as suspension eaters. They also include filter feeders such as mussels, crabs, and whales. They can serve as role models to optimize the structure, materials or function of the filter.
Continuation of microplastic activities
The project follows on from existing work by Fraunhofer UMSICHT, which has been dealing with microplastics since 2014. Following the studies on the current state of knowledge on microplastics and plastics in the environment, “fibrEX“ is now the first project to deal with a concrete solution to the microplastic problem. Project results are expected by the end of 2019.