This study is devoted to the explanation of different characteristics of magnetic filtration and the way these characteristics affect the important filtration parameters. Magnetic fields in pores and the force effect of these fields on magnetic particles and the magnetization properties of packed beds composed of ferromagnetic spheres and metal chips are evaluated. The profile of accumulation and capture regions of the particles, the variation of the fluid velocity in these regions and analytic expressions of particle capture radius are presented. The effects of filtration regime parameters on magnetic filter performance were investigated. An analytical expression has been obtained for the dependence of the logarithmic efficiency coefficient on filtration velocity, the geometry of filter elements, the particle size and other parameters of filtration. The stationary and non-stationary equations of the magnetic filtration processes are given. An expression of magnetic filter performance is shown with dimensionless parameters obtained from the filtration system. These relations are useful for calculations in engineering practice, including the design of magnetic filters, provision of suggestions on construction, and optimization and control of filter operation. (C) 2007 Chinese Society of Particuology and Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.