About thermography

What is thermography?

For more than 40 years thermography (heat detection) has been used for equipment maintenance in industries as diverse as electrical, manufacturing, defence, construction, horticulture, medical and many more. All objects above absolute zero emit infrared (heat) radiation.

Radiation sent out by the object increases with temperature. The practise of thermal imaging is to capture these variations of temperature using thermographic cameras, hence the name. Objects including humans and other warm blooded animals are easily visible when using thermal imaging in the day or the night and historically RTS use has been attributed for military, security and emergency services.

In recent years the practise of Thermography has evolved into one of the most valuable diagnostic tools for predictive maintenance. Infrared cameras are able to detect anomalies often invisible to the naked eye, thus allowing time for corrective action to be taken before costly system failures occur. It has become a common tool because of technology advances that have made thermal imaging cameras more affordable for individual companies.

Applications and uses

Thermal imaging is now used in many areas, such as transmission and distribution line maintenance where technicians locate joints and connections that will fail due to overheating, allowing them to eliminate these potential hazards, by using thermal imaging. Construction engineers are able to see where insulation is faulty, and so are able to improve the efficiencies of heating and air-conditioning.

Thermal imaging is now a standard maintenance procedure for electrical installations and is the quickest and best way to discover construction failures such as heat losses, dampness, and air leaks that occur in buildings by becoming instantly visible on colourful thermal images.

Although thermographic cameras are similar in appearance and operation to a camcorder, there is more to the practise of thermography than just knowing how to handle a camera, which is why the University of Melbourne is involved in the delivery of quality training programs to support the infrared community.