At TUdi’s stand, visitors were introduced to three experiments related to soil sustainability. The first experiment demonstrated how soils can look healthy at first sight but are actually polluted with microplastics. To visualise this, some samples of normal and fluorescent sand were observed without and with UV light. The result of the experiment was that the soil with fluorescent particles apparently not present within, glowed under the UV light.
Image: TUdi’s stand at the European Researchers Night’s event/ Credit: CSIC
The second experiment aimed to show that contaminants within the soil can move to water streams and aquifers. To demonstrate this, some tubes with plain sand and others with sand and fluorescein were prepared. When water was added and the percolation was collected, clear water was obtained from the tubes without fluorescein, while the water that came out from the tube with sand and fluorescein was coloured, thus demonstrating that it can be polluted with particles and contaminants.
Finally, the third experiment at TUdi’s stand showed participants how groundcovers can reduce runoff and sediment concentration. To demonstrate this, three boxes were filled with bare soil, soil with mulching of straw and soil with a green cover crop, which were then irrigated and their runoff was collected in containers. The experiment showed how protecting the soil surface can reduce soil loss (and associated particles and substances) by superficial runoff.
European Researchers' Night is a continent-spanning public celebration that showcases the richness of science and its influence on the everyday lives of citizens through engaging and inspiring experiences.
Image: Participants in the European Researchers Night’s event gather around TUdi’s stand/ Credit: CSIC