We inserted 190 FTIR spectra of plastic samples in a digital database and submitted it to Independent Component Analysis (ICA) to extract the “pure” plastic polymers present. These identified plastics were polypropylene (PP), high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), high density polyethylene terephthalate (HDPET), low density polyethylene terephthalate (LDPET), polystyrene (PS), Nylon (NL), polyethylene oxide (OPE), and Teflon (TEF) and they were used to establish the similarity with unknown plastics using the correlation coefficient (r), and the crosscorrelation function (CC). For samples with r < 0.8 we determined the Mahalanobis Distance (MD) as additional tool of identification. For instance, for the four plastic fragments found in the Carretta carretta, one plastic sample was assigned to OPE due to its r = 0.87; for all the other three plastic samples, due to the r values ranging between 0.83 and0.70, the support of MD suggested LDPET and OPE as co-polymer constituents.
Mauro Mecozzi, Marco Pietroletti, Yulia B. Monakhova, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 106, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2016, Pages 155–161