Previous work has shown that there is a significant correlation between the condition of several historic papers and their gelatin sizing content as determined by wet chemical methods. We have investigated the use of attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy in conjunction with principal components regression (PCR) analysis as an improved method to estimate gelatin concentrations as well as other properties on historic papers. From a training set of 25 spectra obtained from handmade papers dated from 1400 to 1800, the results from the PCR analysis indicate that three factors correlate with gelatin concentration with a multiple correlation of 0.8057. Sulfur concentration and potassium concentration also correlate highly with the extracted factors with R values of 0.7937 and 0.8284, respectively. Other properties such as fluorescence, surface pH, date, L * value, and iron concentration significantly correlate with one or more factors as well. The results suggest that the method can facilitate further studies into the relationship between gelatin sizing and paper permanence as well as the relationship between gelatin and other paper components.
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