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Five Steps to know Thermal Cameras

Posted by in on December 14, 2013 . 0 Comments.

What is Thermal Camera?

A thermal camera or “thermographic” camera is a great technological device that produces an image using infrared radiation. While a common camera form an image using visible light, which is 450–750 nanometer range, a thermal camera functions in wavelengths as long as 14,000 nm.

So you will see beyond what your normal eyes can see. Are you ready? Read on.

What is “Infrared radiation” and how helpful is it for me to see it?

Before understanding how thermal cameras work, it is important to understand the basic concept of infrared. Infrared is a layer of light which cannot be seen with naked eyes. The colors of objects you normally see are reflected off the visible light waves. This results from the heat emitted by the object, which bends the color spectrum and therefore, giving its distinct color. There is an invisible layer of light below the color ‘red’ in the color spectrum which generates heat but cannot be seen. This thin layer of invisible light is detected by a thermal camera.

It is a fact that all objects emit Infrared Energy or heat as a function of their temperatures. This Infrared Energy which is emitted by any object is called its “Heat Signature”. Generally, the hotter the object gets, the more radiation is emitted by it. A thermal camera essentially is a heat sensor which is capable of detecting small differences in temperature. It collects the Infrared Radiation from objects in the scene and is able to create an electronic image based on the information regarding the differences in temperature. Since an object is more likely to be of a different temperature when compared to other objects around it, a thermal camera can easily detect it and it will then appear very distinct in the consequent thermal image. Thermal images are usually greyscale in nature; the white objects mean their temperature is hot and black objects mean their temperature is cold – therefore, the depth of “grey” shade shall indicate the variations between the two. Due to its technology, thermal cameras can produce crisp images in the dark – making them great for night visions. Since the thermal cameras can measure temperatures in a non-contact mode, they become very suitable in a range of applications.


Applications of Thermal Camera

Thermal cameras can help save money and even lives. For example in the industrial environments, thermal cameras are used for finding all hot-spots that may lead to failures in electrical as well as mechanical installations. By intelligently detecting anomalies at an early stage, the production breakdowns can be avoided and a lot of money can be saved. Other two important applications of thermal cameras lie in the fields of building and of border security. The building professionals constantly look for insulation losses and other defects with thermal cameras. Border security specialists want to protect the country’s border against any intruders and smugglers and thermal cameras help them detect a person at a distance of more than 20 km even in total darkness. Apart from these, other applications are in the fields of:

·        R&D: thermal cameras speed up design cycle.

·        Maritime: FLIR cameras are used for night time navigation.

·        Automation: thermal cameras monitor production processes to avoid fires.

·        Intelligent Transportation System: traffic managers use FLIR cameras to manage and monitor traffic streams.

·        Law enforcement: police officers monitor suspects with thermal cameras.

·        Gas detection: gas leaks are detected with thermals cameras.

·        Outdoor activities: enthusiasts can clearly see at night thanks to thermal cameras.

·        Narcotics and explosives detection.


Why Should One Buy A Thermal Camera?

Well, if one belongs to any single field from the above mentioned ones, then the benefits of buying a thermal camera are quite clear. Its usability is limitless in various ways. However, if one is a common individual not belonging to any of those fields, thermal camera can still prove to be very advantageous for two reasons:

·        Security perspective: installing a thermal camera at home will allow a person to ensure home security against any intruders since the camera can easily detect and show an object clearly in the dark.

·        Better-Quality-of-Pictures-at-Night Perspective: with normal cameras the picture taken in a bright setting may work but as soon as the light gets dim, the quality of the picture also reduces. A thermal camera can work in any kind of lighting condition - with an added vision inside its infrared spectrum that expands the vision of an object one sees. This will result in great images in dim lights and also in different weather conditions like rain or fogs.

Why FLir Camera is better than other Thermal Cameras in the Market?

One should go for FLir Cameras in particular. The main reason for this is that other thermal cameras in the market can only form images from “Near Infrared” or “Mid-wave Infrared” while FLir can easily create images from “Long wave”.  The following brief explanations of the three will highlight the distinction:

·        Near Infrared: it is invisible to naked eye and visible colors are lost. It is also dependent upon light.

·        Mid-wave Infrared: the scene details come from thermal energy radiated or reflected from objects while sensing only minute temperature differences in scene.

·        Long-wave Infrared: has high solar rejection, gives high penetration of smoke and fogs, requires uncooled silicon detectors and is the lowest cost thermal with the maximum benefits.

These key differences clearly show how FLir Cameras are the best in all three choices and can give more benefits in exchange of an individual’s investment.

Tags: Thermal Camera, FLIR Last update: December 16, 2013


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