Compliance with future emission standards for diesel powered vehicles is likely to require the deployment of emission control devices, such as particulate filters and DeNOx converters. Diesel emission control is merging with powertrain management and requires deep knowledge of emission control component behavior to perform effective system level integration and optimization. The present paper focuses on challenges associated with a critical component of diesel emission control systems, namely the diesel particulate filter (DPF), and provides a fundamental description of the transient filtration/loading, catalytic/NO2-assisted regeneration and ash-induced aging behavior of DPF's. The derived models (some in analytic form) are based on rigorous descriptions of the underlying physicochemical processes and they are shown to be in excellent agreement with experimental data (collected in-house and from the literature) as well as by comparison to, “presumably exact”, 3-dimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics calculations. The validated models thus provide a robust core to build upon/interface system level simulation and optimization tools.