5,000,000 Youtube Views for ‘Filtration’ – Tough Concepts the #1 Video Gets Right

Grant Thompson’s Youtube channel has over 11 million subscribers (as of June 2019) and his top video covering ‘Lego Gummy Candy’ has over 33 million views.  As ‘The King of Random‘ the channel publishes daily DIY and how-to lessons, and their July 6, 2017 episode titled, “DIY: Make Swamp Water Drinkable”  with 5,000,000 views is the number one most viewed video for ‘Filtration’.

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Dirt pond water on the left.  Filtered, clean, treated water on the right.  

The Youtube transcript is below, and by watching the video or reading, we can see that many of the major challenges in filtration are addressed:

1. Physical strength

Water carries a lot of force – the filter media requires sufficient physical and tensile strength.  Our narrator, Nate, begins his gradient sand bed filter with gravel to ‘absorb the force of the water’.  For anyone working with any kind of liquid filtration, strength of the filter media is important – if there is a single hole, then the fluid will flow through it and not be properly filtered.  

2. Gradient – Gradient Design

Nate starts with a fine sand filter at the bottom – supported in place by the woven / nonwoven mesh (he uses a paper towel).  He creates a gradient structure backwards, and the water flow encounters in order – gravel, smaller gravel, large sand, carbon, fine carbon and then finally fine sand.  Gradient filtration – using different size media (fibrous or particulate) to create a gradient pore structure, allows a filter to have good flow and optimum capacity.

3. Torturous Path


Torturous Paths fill many liquid filtration and battery separator text books.

As Nate is producing his gradient he mentions that the, “water will have to travel further, catching more material.”  Bingo! The longer and more difficult the path, the more likely small materials will be caught and the filter will also increase in capacity.

4. Settling, Flocculation, Gravity

Nathan starts his experiment by letting the water settle.  He scoops big particulate off the top.  Several times he admires the material that is left sitting together on top of the sand bed in clumps.  The narrator never adds a flocculant to promote clumping and aid filtration, but he does let the material settle and lets gravity do some of the work for the filter.

5. Flux

Three elements are designed with different media layers.  As he comes back from his 90 second commercial break, Nate comments on the different rates of completion from each of the elements.  Here we’re seeing that the flux – or flow rate – through each of the elements is not consistent.

6. Clarity – NTUs as Measurement

Nate scoops up pond water from his fish tank – and it is pretty dirty.  It looks to be over 30 NTUs.  While Nephelometric Turbidity Units (“NTUs”) are never mentioned – he frequently discusses the visual clarity (aka turbidity) of the water – the filtrate – which he ultimately drinks.

7. Fibrous Media – Paper Towel

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King of Random starts with dirty pond water – and makes it safe to drink with filtration.

As noted above, Nate’s finest filter layer – or at least the mechanical structure that supports the whole composite – is a paper towel.  Everything rests on that material.  It is common in filtration to have a fibrous layer as the efficiency layer – or to have some kind of synthetic / man-made material as the finest layer, such as a microporous or cast membrane.

8. Fine Pore Size, Big Surface Area

Nate hypothesizes that the cleanest water comes not from the element with the most carbon, but rather from the one with the most fine powdered carbon.  Those fine particulate materials create a big boost in pore size and a big boost in surface area – just like the fine diatomaceous earth (“DE”) used in the final clarification steps when brewing beer and championed by some of the pharma production equipment makers.

9. Element Design is Hard

Nate proceeds with three design concepts – the flux is different, the layers are different, and based on the varying amounts of yellow water – the filtration efficiency is different.  Even in a limited setting with a few designs, there is great variability in performance.

10. Dwell Time / Surface Area of the Media

“The finest carbon particles performed the best” – based on Nate’s performance.  The longer tortuous path exposes the material to the most surface area.  The finer particles give the longest path and have the most surface area.

11. Re-use, Cleaning

Nate describes how the elements can be re-sealed with bottle tops – given that they are made from plastic water bottles that contain the sand bed materials.  Cleaning matters – especially for liquid filtration.  Figuring out how to clean-in-place and work with other materials is part of getting new media qualified.

12. Sterilization

Thank goodness he boils the water!  There are a lot of ways to treat water – filtration is just one of many.

13. PPE for Fines


Please don’t laugh about lung inhalation damage!

This is a general safety issue – the narrator, Nate, is not wearing sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for working with small particles, and he intentionally grinds up fine powder carbon!  He also doesn’t wear any eye protection – again, this isn’t filtration specific, but it will make anyone in manufacturing cringe.

14. Not LRV

For anyone coming with a bio-pharmaceutical or protein production background with a familiarity with log-retentive values (“LRVs”) for measurement of a filter’s efficiency at a given particle size.  For example – a 99.99% efficient element is 4 LRV, add another 9 to get to 99.999% efficient and 5 LRV.

Sponsored by…

Having used many online advertising platforms it is interesting that the in line advertising roll is for a survival focused video game.  It is interesting to see what businesses look to sponsor / advertise against filtration themed videos.

Full Transcript:

This video is sponsored by Next Games, creator of AMC’s official game The Walking Dead:No Man’s Land. I put a link in the description so you can go download the game for free and it comes with a special offer! I’ll tell you about in a few minutes.


What’s up guys welcome back for this video today, I thought it’d be fun to take a little bit of an apocalyptic twist now if you’re to find yourself in a sudrvival emergency or zombie apocalyptic situation, One of the most valuable resources you could get your hands on would be clean drinking water you won’t last very long without it so for this video today, I thought it’d be great to show you how to use resources you already have to make clean drinking water for yourself
So quick update guys. I just stepped outside for a second I walked over to my fish pond – which ironically doesn’t have any fish in it – But it does have a massive amount of other kinds of life as you see here. We’ve got Mosquito larvae We’ve got these little worms flopping around all over the place We’ve got algae and all kinds of junk and other little parasites that probably will help very much in your quest for survival.
But I am going to drink it once we make our filter and sterilize the water We need a simple way to filter all this garbage out before we sterilize the water and to get started
We’re going to be making a simple sand – Charcoal filter now to get started making our sand charcoal filter of course we’re going to need some sand we’re getting some charcoal and we’re going to Need some kind of a plastic container like these simple little water bottles You probably have lying around
Now because sand, clay and rocks have different densities if you put them in a container with water and stir it all up The rocks will fall to the bottom first followed by the sand and the clay on top




any organic material left behind will float up with a surface where you can skim it off by using these layers of Separation with one chunk of dirt you can end up with nice small pebbles very fine sand and the clay which we don’t actually need For this experiment. Or you could use something like a strainer and filter out the finer sand that way as well
So now that we’ve got our fine sand our small pebbles and a small water bottle the only thing left to do is crush up some charcoal Now for this experiment. I’m using the same charcoal I used for our black-Powder experiment We made in the previous video
however If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own you can just look around a campfire For those large chunks of black wood they’re charred and snap in half when you press them if your charcoal is done.




Right it should just about crumble if you apply any kind of pressure to it Which is good because the finer we can get our charcoal the better our filter is going to work now of course my charcoal is just a mixture of small twigs paint sticks and sawdust which I like to sawdust because it’s already in fine powder form to begin with but whatever material you end up using to make your Charcoal should be just fine because it all ends up is pretty much the same stuff The goal is just to make it a very fine powder because the finer your charcoal is the better your filters can work




that’s beautiful
Here we are guys we have all of our filter materials prepped and ready for assembly
So let’s take our plastic water bottle cut off the bottom and put a little bit of paper towel on the bottom to catch everything As it falls in now, if you don’t have any paper towel or fine cloth You could use a bit of your shirt




You can use some sock any kind of cloth really that’s going to stick down the bottom and hold the charcoal in place Preventing it from slipping through so now that we have our paper towel in place We can go ahead and start adding the filter materials fineness to courses so in this case We’re going to start with the very fine charcoal powder and build that up a few inches deep Followed by as much of the fine sand as we can pack in there, and then a nice top layer of small pebbles And that’s really to protect the system from the water this splashing in and just to go one step further.
I took the bottom of the bottle and cut it into a makeshift baffle to stick it on the top and help reduce erosion As we pour the water in now This is a very basic style filter and the more material you could add the better it will work and you could also get creative.




With some different variations for example you could layer the charcoal and the sand
Charcoal, sand as many times as you want or you can even just cut the water bottle in half, use the top part of it To form the filter and use the bottom part to form the cup
The time has come to take our scummy pond water and test our filters to keep it work now if you look at the water Itself this has been sitting out for about 45 minutes
and you can see that already a lot of the material in there has settled down to the bottom and Relatively filtered itself through gravity we’ve got organic material and bugs floating at the top
But the water is a lot clearer than it used to be so step number one in filtering your water if you can Let your water sit out for a few hours. So most of the material can settle down to the bottom first.



So I’ve just made the transfer you can already see that this water is so much cleaner than this water here



There’s still little bugs floating around there and a lot of other nasties
But we can now take this water and pour it into our filter and cleanse it even further watch this –
So our water filters are charged and is going to take a little bit of time for the water to filter through.
In line advertisement!  Skip ahead to 6.35…
All right back to the experiment – Alright guys. We are back. We’ve been running these filters for about 45 minutes now to the point where the cups are actually overflowing
So let’s stop for a second and observe the different results between the different filters
So just by looking at the different colors of the water here It looks like the one on your right is actually the clearest and this is the one that we built in this video.




It’s got the layer of charcoal on the slot on the stand in the middle of the pebbles on the top and is this pretty basic Design now look if we screw the cap on We can actually contain everything inside and just set that off to the side to be used again at another time
You know what else is really crazy is if you look at the top of the filter you can actually see like the little worms, The Larva, the bugs like jumping around and floating on top.
They don’t make it past the rocks though – They just stay on the top the water we collected at the bottom is Definitely different than the water on the top now the one in the middle.  
I’m a little bit surprised about because we actually had two different layers of Charcoal
And I would have expected that to be the clearest out of all of them.
now what I think happened is when I was building this one I actually ran out of my really fine charcoal, and I just started putting the chunky charcoal instead so obviously
It didn’t filter the water quite as good as the really fine charcoal does this shows the finer your charcoal the clearer your water is
Actually going to be let’s take a look down inside and check it for clarity So I’ve just transferred our two large samples to two glasses.  We can look inside and check for clarity and you see the one on the left has slightly yellow tinge to it the one on
The right that looks absolutely fantastic and if you look down here You look straight through the glass you can’t see any particulate floating around whatsoever.




This water right here looks beautiful looks refreshing. It looks crystal clear It looks delicious in a survival situation, it’s going to be the nectar of life however There’s one thing left to do before you drink it and that’s to sterilize it.




Alright guys. I am back with my sterilized water. I just stuck this in the microwave for 4 minutes however There are a lot of alternative methods you could use for purifying water as well such as water purification tablets, UV stir sticks – And I’ve even heard of people sticking water in clear plastic bottles and setting them out in sunlight for 24 to 48 hours But for simplicity on this project I went ahead and use the boiling water method. 
That’s the method that’s most commonly used and after you boil water for a couple of minutes It’s pretty much enough to kill anything in the water that could hurt you so they say so here.
Here we are guys this is the moment of truth. We’ve got our green scummy pond water that we have transformed into sterilized charcoaled filtered water It’s filtered sanitized life-giving zero-Calorie sugar-free gluten-free dairy-free and ready to drink so this is it.
I’m actually so confident this is sterilized and ready to drink I’m just going to down the whole thing here we go.
That was actually really good that tastes Probably a lot different than this taste. I mean look mosquito Larvae are still having a heyday in there So in a survival situation I choose our charcoal filter water which is made out of materials from the backyard Dirt, sand, Charcoal and look how crystal-clear that comes out this is a viable option. Guys,
This is how you survive because water is one of the essentials So there you have a guys that’s one cool trick to taking ugly disgusting contaminated water and turning it into sanitized, purified, Totally drinkable water it might just save your life.
Now You guys know I post videos every single day
So if you’re really curious to know whether or not this was actually safe for me to drink
click subscribe ring the bell to receive my future post notifications because if I stop posting
Well, you’ll know what happened
Thanks for joining me for this project today if an emergency pops up I hope this might help save your life
I’ll see you in the next video talk to you then
I love charcoal.
Just went into my lungs. Oh oh, oh
There they go spill it all over the place. You’re not having a mess you’re not making fun
Hey guys quick reminder
there’s a link in the description right now to download The Walking Dead no man’s land for free if you download before the end of

July you’ll unlock the character, Negan go get em Boys!

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