Sea waves transport of inertial micro-plastics: Mathematical model and applications

Alessandro Stocchino, Francesco De Leo, Giovanni Besio

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Plastic pollution in seas and oceans has recently been recognized as one of the most impacting threats for the environment, and the increasing number of scientific studies proves that this is an issue of primary concern. Being able to predict plastic paths and concentrations within the sea is therefore fundamental to properly face this challenge. In the present work, we evaluated the effects of sea waves on inertial micro-plastics dynamics. We hypothesized a stationary input number of particles in a given control volume below the sea surface, solving their trajectories and distributions under a second-order regular wave. We developed an exhaustive group of datasets, spanning the most plausible values for particles densities and diameters and wave characteristics, with a specific focus on the Mediterranean Sea. Results show how the particles inertia significantly affects the total transport of such debris by waves.

Original languageEnglish
Article number467
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Micro-plastics
  • Particle inertia
  • Stokes drift
  • Stokes wave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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