In this study we develop an experimental method to help understand the formation and growth of dust cakes. An on-line pressure-displacement measurement system is developed to measure the thickness of the dust cakes. A higher filtration superficial velocity resulted in a higher degree of compaction in the dust cakes and thus a higher specific cake resistance, hence a better collection efficiency could be achieved. The empirical equations for cake solidosity, and specific cake resistance as a function of the filtration superficial velocity are derived. We find that the cake filter is influenced by the cake thickness and the filtration superficial velocity. The results of this study can be applied to granular bed filters for the removal of dust particulates in advanced coal-fired power systems. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.