Thermography is the use of an infrared imaging and measurement camera to “see” and “measure” thermal energy emitted from an object. Thermal, or infrared energy, is light that is not visible because its wavelength is too long to be detected by the human eye; it’s the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat.
Unlike visible light, in the infrared world, everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat. Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared. The higher the object’s temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot.
Infrared Thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or “heat” radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities. Nearly everything gets hot before it fails, making infrared cameras extremely cost-effective, valuable diagnostic tools in many diverse applications.
Sir William Herschel, an astronomer, discovered infrared in 1800. He built his own telescopes and was therefore very familiar with lenses and mirrors. Knowing that sunlight was made up of all the colors of the spectrum, and that it was also a source of heat, Herschel wanted to find out which color(s) were responsible for heating objects. He devised an experiment using a prism, paperboard, and thermometers with blackened bulbs where he measured the temperatures of the different colors. Herschel observed an increase in temperature as he moved the thermometer from violet to red in the rainbow created by sunlight passing through the prism. He found that the hottest temperature was actually beyond red light. The radiation causing this heating was not visible; Herschel termed this invisible radiation “calorific rays.” Today, we know it as infrared.
An infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image on a video monitor and perform temperature calculations. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely quantified, or measured, allowing you to not only monitor thermal performance, but also identify and evaluate the relative severity of heat-related problems. Recent innovations, particularly detector technology, the incorporation of built-in visual imaging, automatic functionality, and infrared software development, deliver more cost-effective thermal analysis solutions than ever before. Digital image storage produces calibrated thermal images that contain over 78,000 independent temperature measurements that can be measured at any time.
Moisture in building materials can destroy structural integrity and nurture mold. The first step in moisture problem remediation is to quickly and accurately locate and remove all sources of moisture. Infrared Thermography instantly shows you what’s wet and what’s dry. Using this technology, in most cases, we can instantly find the ultimate source with little or no physical disassembly of the premises and minimal disturbance of inhabitants.