What is an Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera and Reasons To Use It

Posted by Grace Evans

Thermal imaging cameras are devices designed to measure thermal energy and represent it in the form of a digital image in order to analyse the internal state of a specific object which is not visible to us. The digital image produced by these cameras is called a thermogram, and the process of analysing the image is called thermography. Or in other words, you can say that infrared thermal imaging is an advanced form of temperature measuring where instead of getting a reading of the temperature, you get a detailed picture showing you hotspots and thermal differences.

The benefit of these devices is fairly obvious. Being able to detect heat changes and see things that are invisible to your eyes is extremely useful. And with the advancements in technology, infrared thermal imaging cameras are now very user friendly for professionals and laymen alike. Homeowners can purchase an entry-level camera with only the most essential features that can allow them to check for leaks or electrical faults without having to call their contractors. On the other hand, there are professional camera units with multiple crosshairs and other features which provide a detailed analysis of the area that’s being measured.

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Moreover, infrared thermal imaging cameras now come with different colour palettes, like for instance black and white, iron or rainbow. Home inspectors mostly use the iron palette which allows for a clear view of potential electrical faults. On the other hand, the rainbow palette provides a more detailed representation of temperature differences. The black and white palette besides heat, also allows you to see cold energy.

When infrared thermal imaging cameras first appeared they were associated solely with tasks involving electrical applications, such as scanning for hot connections or checking for electrical load faults. However, they soon began to migrate to other fields and today have many uses. With the help of such a camera, firefighters can see better and locate people in thick smoke. Infrared cameras are also used in law enforcement for investigating crime scenes and managing search and rescue operations. Even plumbers can benefit from an infrared camera to help them find the source of a leak. And finally, infrared thermal imaging can also be used for monitoring physiological changes in warm-blooded organisms such as fever.

Despite the wide range of uses, thermal imaging also has its limitations. For instance, infrared cameras are not able to detect changes through glass. Also, they can only measure the heat inside the wall, not past it. It’s also important to note that these tools cannot always be 100% reliable, and therefore in order to be able to confirm there is a problem, other test instruments should also be used.

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