A visible-attenuated total reflection (visible-ATR) device was designed to provide a method for directly determining the relative tint strength in high-strength inks. This device showed good reproducibility and the spectra could be correlated to known values of relative tint strength in viscous, highly pigmented inks well within the industry-acceptable error (±5% tint strength). The results of the visible-ATR measurements were compared to those from mid-infrared (mid-IR) and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and the capabilities of those techniques for determining ink strength. Mid-IR analysis was able to directly quantify relative tint strengths, as well as correlating to known values, and to qualify ink products by spectral matching. NIR analysis was able to quantify the tint strength based on the vehicle concentrations in the NIR region. The visible region of the NIR spectrometer was not able to be used for quantification. The vis-ATR and mid-IR spectra showed changes over the time scale of minutes, indicating self-stratification of the pigment and varnish.

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