Filter paper comes in various porosities and grades depending on the applications it is meant for. The important parameters are wet strength, porosity, particle retention, flow rate, 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. Filter paper is mostly used because even a small piece of filter paper will absorb a significant volume of liquid
The raw materials are different paper pulps. The pulp may be from softwood, hardwood, fiber crops, mineral fibers. For high quality filters, dissolving pulp and mercerised pulp are 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.