Analysis and testing of Inks supporting research and development, formulation, physical properties, application development and performance evaluation

Intertek offers inks chemical and physical testing analysis techniques, providing customer research, quality and problem solving support. Our capabilities include testing, failure analysis, consulting and regulatory expertise.

Ink testing for food, pharmaceutical and other packaging:

  • Ink and coating product formulation characterisation and impurity structural elucidation
    • NMR Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry (MS), Tandem Mass Spectrometry (MS/MS), Liquid Chromatography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), vibrational spectroscopy, UV-vis, fluorescence, viscosity, headspace Gas Chromatography
  • High Resolution Microscopy
    • Particulate pigment systems using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
    • Compatibility of printing technology, such as printheads with ink using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
    • Coated surfaces and multilayer systems (SEM, TEM, Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) and interferometry)
  • Advanced data handling solutions where data manipulation and interpretation are required
    • Statistical measurements of variance between the properties of ink batches
    • This is particularly useful when understanding printed property data (optical density, L*a*b* colour space, etc.)
  • Working with polymeric species and providing analytical support for a variety of chemistries, including acrylated urethanes, epoxies, polyesters, and acrylics (Gel Permeation Chromatography, Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography, etc.)
  • Trace heavy metals and residual inorganic impurities in material Ash/ Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy with Optical Emission Spectroscopy or Mass Spectrometry detection (ICP-AES or ICP-MS) in product formulation
  • Physical chemistry property determination (pKa, LogP, LogD, solubility etc.) for formulation components
  • Forensic type investigations into ink contamination during manufacturing process (e.g. plasticisers absorbed from hoses, etc.)
  • UV Cure technologies:
    • UV-Cure ink formulation characterisation and impurity structural elucidation including the properties and interaction of the monomers, photoinitiators, pigment, additives and oligomers
    • DSC Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) for the study of complex thermal properties at various degrees of curing as an indicator for the degree of cross-linking
    • FTIR Infra-Red Spectroscopy to quantify and monitor residual functional groups
  • Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) identification of polymer constituents in an aqueous ink dispersion
Ink Analysis Case Study
    • Ink formulations can suffer from transient forms of instability, due to gas evolution. Intertek Gas Chromatography - (GC) analysis to identify the trace quantities of evolved gas and quantify the effect. This enables a client to assess the risk in use, and proceed to the next stage of the project.
    • A complex new dye was developed with a labile structure, and needed clarification to satisfy product launch criteria. Intertek developed the structural understanding and methodology using a combination of spectroscopies, including High Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR), Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF), Liquid Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS) and molecular dynamics modelling.
    • Unusual and undesirable optical effects were observed for an ink after application to the substrate. Light microscopy was used, and understanding of colour space to develop a methodology for quantification of the effect was accomplished. Fundamental studies using advanced Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) facilities and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) were also conducted to relate effects to other molecular physico-chemical parameters.