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Thermal Imaging Cameras

02/07/2020

Studio Victoria

3 minutes

Thermal imaging cameras have been around for quite a while, but very few actually get to use them on a daily basis and even fewer people truly understand how they operate. Today we are going to explain what thermal imaging cameras are about, and we are going to answer the following questions: what is a thermal imaging camera?, what are the main features of a thermal imaging camera? and what are thermal imaging cameras used for? Keep reading and find out how using thermal imaging cameras can help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS.

WHAT IS A THERMAL IMAGING CAMERA?

Thermal imaging cameras were developed during the Korean War, and like many other pieces of technology, they soon were used by the civilians for a wide variety of purposes.

The human eye sees a specific portion of the light spectrum. In reality, the amount and type of light our eyes can perceive is quite limited. In order to visualise infrared radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum we have to use dedicated equipment. This is the main use of a thermal imaging camera, which transforms heat into a visible light source that is projected on the different objects’ surfaces.

By displaying the temperature visually, inspectors have a truly powerful tool to assess the different temperature values quickly and efficiently. With a thermal imaging camera you can easily identify heat sources, wet spots, people, animals, etc.

The technical term for a thermal image is thermogram, and the process of analysing them is known as thermography.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN FEATURES OF A THERMAL IMAGING CAMERA?

In its most simplistic form, a thermal imaging camera will only measure the temperature in the very centre of the image, but the more advanced units, like the ones that we use, will take differential values from multiple points, giving maximum, minimum, median and range values.

With some of the more advanced units, we can select different colour palettes, overlay the thermal image on top of a normal image or even combine both within the same image.

For concrete tasks, depending on the camera, we can set the range of temperatures that we know we have to look for, eliminating any possible unused values and focusing on what matters for that specific inspection.

WHAT ARE THERMAL IMAGING CAMERAS USED FOR?

Besides its original military applications, thermal imaging cameras are used for a wide variety of purposes: search and rescue, crime fighting, building surveys, energy reports, etc.

For the Construction, Property, Insurance, Energy, and Agriculture sectors, the main uses of a thermal imaging camera are:

  • Wet spot identification: whether it is a building, a land, a pipe or any kind of infrastructure, thermal imaging will reveal where water might be accumulating or not draining as quickly as it should, so you could take the appropriate measures to prevent any critical damage
  • Building insulation analysis: thermal imaging cameras give a detailed insight into the status of a building’s insulation by highlighting the colder spots that should be otherwise much warmer
  • Mould prevention: moisture condensation will lead to mould and this could be a difficult problem to solve, especially the dreaded black mould. Thermal imaging cameras give us the ability to assess where moisture is collecting and sorting the issue before it gets much worse
  • Solar panel evaluation: with thermal imaging cameras we can quickly evaluate the panels for any damage that would be invisible to the naked eye. Usually, if there is a hot spot, it means that the panel might be damaged around that area, therefore decreasing its efficiency
  • Wind turbine inspection: inspecting the wind turbines with thermal imagine cameras can identify areas with higher heat, which could mean that something inside the rotor might break and potentially lead to a catastrophic and life-threatening failure
  • Ventilation efficiency report: if a ventilation system is not working properly, it could lead to the premises being too hot or too cold, making the occupants uncomfortable and potentially ill. Using a thermal imaging camera to compare the ambient temperature with the air coming out from the vents you will immediately know the operating status of your units and whether they need maintenance or repairs
  • Carbon sequestration assessment: thermal imaging cameras are an essential tool to verify that your carbon sequestration strategy is working as planned. We covered carbon sequestration in a previous blog article

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