Recording Heat Loss at the House

What is thermal imaging?

Published: 17th December 2013

No matter how many carrots we eat, our human eyes are pretty poor at seeing in the dark. This is where thermal imaging can help. Thermal imaging is the process of detecting infrared radiation and producing an image of that radiation (a thermogram).

To produce a thermogram you need a thermal imaging camera, also known as an infrared camera. When we think of infrared cameras, probably the first thing that comes to mind is finding people in the dark, whether that’s rescuing someone in a disaster situation or catching a criminal on the run.

However, these cameras have a wide variety of applications in industry, energy, building, science, automation and more. For example, you could use cameras like the TI160 and TI384 from ULIRvision to detect overheating in a power line.

At the other end of the scale, you could use the TI120, also from ULIRvision, to detect the possible presence of pandemic viruses such as SARS in a crowd of people moving through an airport. We’ll be discussing these different uses in more detail in another blog.

So how does thermal imaging work?

Whereas normal cameras work with visible light, (i.e. the light that we can see with our own eyes) thermal imaging cameras use infrared light (which we can’t see). The thermal imager converts this infrared radiation into electrical signals, making it visible to us as a thermogram.

Infrared radiation is generated when molecules move. For molecules to move, their temperature has to be above absolute zero – this is very, very cold −273.15° Celsius to be precise. The higher the temperature, the more the molecules inside an object move, generating more infrared radiation. So although our eyes can’t see infrared light we can feel it as heat.

As warm-blooded creatures, we humans generate quite a bit of infrared radiation, making us easy to spot with an infrared camera compared to other objects in our surrounding environment.

These variations in infrared emissions / temperature show up on a thermogram as different colours, as you can see in the images on this page and the video below.

You Might also like

Bode Plots on oscilloscope

Measuring the Control Loop Response of a Power Supply with an Oscilloscope

Power supplies and voltage regulators are typically designed to maintain a constant voltage over a particular current range. The supply should respond quickly to demand changes while maintaining a constant output, without excessive ringing or oscillation. To do this, power supplies are essentially amplifiers with a closed feedback loop.

Read more
MCS Test Announce New Sales Partnership with Keysight Technologies

MCS Test Announce New Sales Partnership with Keysight Technologies

Keysight Technologies product lines will complement MCS Test’s market-leading selection of high-quality test and measurement tools and equipment

Read more
Keysight World 2021

Keysight World 2021

Success hinges on new ideas in connectivity, digital transformation, and security. Opportunities start with use cases built on 5G, Open RAN, quantum computing, connected cars, and beyond. Keysight World explores these areas, and more, with a focus on accelerating your next innovation.

Read more

Sign up for the MCS Newsletter

You will receive all the latest test & measurement news and rental offers.