Infrared thermography, thermal imaging, and thermal video, are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermal imaging cameras detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 900 - 14,000 nanometers) and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects near room temperature, according to the black body radiation law, thermography makes it possible to see one's environment with or without visible illumination. The amount of radiation emitted by an object increases with temperature; therefore, thermography allows one to see variations in temperature. When viewed through a thermal imaging camera, warm objects stand out well against cooler backgrounds; humans and other warm-blooded animals become easily visible against the environment, day or night. As a result, thermography is particularly useful to the military and to security services.
Advantages of thermal imaging
- It shows a visual picture so temperatures over a large area can be compared
- It is capable of catching moving targets in real time
- It is able to find deteriorating, i.e., higher temperature components prior to their failure
- It can be used to measure or observe in areas inaccessible or hazardous for other methods
- It is a non-destructive test method
- It can be used to find defects in shafts, pipes, and other metal or plastic parts
- It can be used to detect objects in dark areas
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