How do thermal cameras work?

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In today’s world, many jobs depend on the process of thermal imaging. It has endless uses and is available for all sorts of professionals so that they can reply on thermal imaging for work. The most important thing to remember is that this camera doesn’t work like a normal picture camera. In technical words, a thermal imaging camera has heat sensors that are capable of detecting small changes in the temperature. The infra-red radiations are captured by this camera and then an electronic image is created and displayed on a screen. Light and thermal heat is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum and any device that can detect heat cannot detect light. This is why we require the camera to capture the thermal heat information and then create an image, or else it won’t be possible to have an actual image.

The camera lens is pointed in the direction of the object and it focuses on all the infra-red waves that are being transmitted by the object towards the camera lens. The infra-red detectors in the camera scan those waves and in less than a second a precise temperature pattern is created by the thermo gram. The detector captures the thermal waves in thousand points, which are then converted into electrical impulses. These impulses travel to a circuit board and then these impulses are translated into a proper image on the camera. The heat intensity creates a varied range of colors.

What to keep in mind before using the thermal camera?

  • Range: range is the difference between the highest and the lowest temperature that the camera can measure. Incase if industrial application, it is better to have a wider ranged camera. If you have to use it for personal, then go for a smaller range. Some cameras have numerous ranges to choose from.
  • Field of view: again, this depends on the use of the camera. This usually depends on the camera lens and involves the scene that has to be covered at one time by the camera. For example, you need a telephoto lens for long distance working. These lenses are changeable and you might buy a variety of them.
  • IR resolution: it is the count of pixels on the camera at one point. A higher resolution will indicate more detailed picture screening as it can measure more, whereas a low resolution picture will have lesser details and measurements. If your work is long distance, it is advised to get a high resolution camera.
  • Spectacle range: it is the range of wave lengths that the camera can measure and its numerical is micrometer. Most of the cameras are long wave cameras and have the range of 8 to 14 micrometers. They have the most use in industries etc.
  • Thermal sensitivity: it is the knowledge of the smallest temperature difference that the camera is capable of showing you. The best thermal sensitivity is achieved by the lowest number possible. Wide temperature differences do not require a very sensitive camera, however if you have to work in the process of detecting moisture then this might be important.

What are thermal cameras used for?

  • Maintenances: a lot of machines overheat while working, which leads to them burning or stopping. This can be prevented if the thermal camera scans the machine and lets us know about the parts that are overheating. This way the machine can be stopped for some time and severe damage can be prevented.
  • Heat leakage: if an air conditioner or a fridge is causing air leaks, thermal camera can let you know. A proper scanning can be conducted and you can easily seal off any areas that contribute to air leaks. Moreover, it can be used to look out for any areas that have not been insulated inside the walls or the roofs as they might be causing leak problems as well.
  • Animal health: this is one of the greatest uses of the thermal imaging cameras. Veterinarians use this device to scan the body of an animal and locate any overheated or inflamed parts that might cause infections or diseases. It also diagnosis internal bleeding that is not prominent to the naked eye.
  • Fire departments: firemen use this device to scan the building that is on fire and pinpoint where people are trapped. Furthermore, it helps them realize where the fire is more severe as compared to the other areas. It can also be used by policemen to locate culprits in hiding.

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