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What is the difference between cotton and paper filters?

Filters that use a cotton-like filter media are called depth type filters. These filters are designed with a cotton-like batting about one inch thick that the oil must pass through before it goes back to the engine. The particles in the oil get trapped in the cotton filter material as the oil passes through. Paper filters are designed by taking paper that a particle of a specific size (such as 40 microns,) that contaminents greater than the micron size will not pass through. The paper is then folded back and forth creating a ring of paper folds. The paper folds increase the surface area of the filter so the oil can pass through at a slow speed, trapping the particles.