Filter paper

Filter paper is a semi-permeable paper barrier placed perpendicular to a liquid or air flow. It is used to separate fine solids from liquids or air.


Filter paper comes in various porosities and grades depending on the applications it is meant for. The important parameters are porosity, particle retention, flow rate, strength, compatibility, efficiency and capacity.

There are two mechanisms of filtration with paper; volume and surface. By volume filtration the particles are caught in the bulk of the filter paper. By surface filtration the particles are caught on the paper surface



Main article: Paper machine

The raw materials are different paper pulps. The pulp may be from softwood, hardwood, fiber crops, mineral fibers. For high quality filters is dissolving pulp used. Most filter papers are made on small paper machines. For laboratory filters the machines may be as small as 50 cm width. The paper is often crêped to improve porosity. The filter papers may also be treated with reagents or impregnation to get the right properties



Air filters

Air filter paper in an auto engine

The main application for air filters are combustion air to engines. The filter papers are transformed into filter cartridges, which then is fitted to a holder. The construction of the cartridges mostly requires that the paper is stiff enough to be self supporting. A paper for air filters needs to be very porous and have a weight of 100 - 200 g/m2. Normally particularly long fibrous pulp is used to get these properties. The paper is normally impregnated to improve the resistance to moisture.[1] Some heavy duty qualities are made to be rinsed and thereby extend the life of the filter

Fuel filters

The paper used for fuel filters is a crêped paper with controlled porosity, which is pleated and wound to cartridges. The raw material for filter paper used in fuel filters are made of a mixture of hardwood and softwood fibres. The basis weight of the paper is 50 - 80 g/m2.[2]

Laboratory filters

For laboratory use filter papers are made in a varieties of ways. Specific use requires specific papers. The raw materials might be acid washed wooden fibers, carbon or quartz fibers. Finishing and confectioning is the bulk of the production work.[2]

In laboratories, filter paper is usually used with a filter funnel, Hirsch, or Buchner funnel.

Ashless filter paper is mainly used for gravimetric methods in quantitative chemical analysis. It has a base weight of 80 g/m2[citation needed].

These papers may be impregnated with various reagents for use in detection tests like pH, pregnancy or diabetes.

Oil filters

Oil filter paper on an element for a Volvo S40

Engine oil is filtered to remove impurities. Filtration of oil is normally done with volume filtration. Filter papers for lubrication oils are impregnated to resist high temperatures.[1]

Tea bags

Tea bags are made from abacá fibers, a very thin and long fiber hemp. Often the paper is added a minor portion of synthetic fibers. The bag paper is very porous and thin, 12 - 20 g/cm2, and has high wet strength.[2]