Does Thermal Imaging Use Infrared?

Does Thermal Imaging Use Infrared?
Does Thermal Imaging Use Infrared?

Thermography/Thermal imaging is a technique for detecting heat in various objects. It involves taking thermal images of an object and analyzing these images to make conclusions. But do you know What is thermal imaging? How does it work? Does thermal imaging use infrared?

Thermal imaging is a remote sensing method that uses infrared radiation (IR) to detect differences in temperature. OR Thermal Imaging is a term used to describe the measurement of the temperature of an object, or a scene, to reveal information about the physical and chemical nature of the object, or scene. Thermal imaging is also known as thermography.

It is an entirely passive technique that works both in daylight and at night. The devices used to detect thermal imaging are called thermal cameras, thermal imagers, or infrared cameras. These cameras detect heat signatures from an object and then convert them to the visible images on the screen.

Thanks to the new companies like Flir, Seek, etc, this technology has become budget-friendly. Now you can buy cheap thermal cameras under $500. People who prefer monoculars, cheers! they can also buy cheap but the best monoculars under $1000.

How Does It Work?

The process of thermal imaging works by measuring the amount of infrared radiation (heat) emitted from an object. Nearly all objects emit heat which is referred to as a” heat signature”. Consequently, by detecting the amount of this heat, the thermal imaging device can build up a picture of the object.

A thermal imager consists of a sensitive heat sensor, called a detector, which is capable of measuring even a minor change in temperature. This camera measures the difference in temperature between the object and its surroundings and converts this difference into a visual image.

The heat sensors used in thermal imaging cameras are usually sensitive to a wide range of wavelengths, from visible light to infrared. They may have a single wavelength sensitivity or multiple wavelength sensitivities.

The old models represent the image in grayscale, while newer models provide color images in order to provide a more detailed image.

Related post: How Much Does A Thermal Camera Cost?

Does Thermal Imaging Use Infrared?

Unquestionably, the answer is yes.

The thermal imaging technique detects heat signatures (IR radiations) of the objects by using infrared radiation detectors in cameras. The detectors find heat differences coming in the form of IR radiations from the objects, and convert them to visible images.

All objects emit heat (infrared rays) that is invisible to human eyes but can be detected by thermal detectors or thermometers. As I have said earlier, the thermal imager/camera is a remote sensing method that uses these thermal detectors to detect infrared radiation. These thermal imagers then convert these invisible rays to visible images on the screen and the human eye can see them.

Thermal imaging cameras use a variety of infrared detectors, such as thermopiles, pyroelectric detectors, bolometers, and microbolometers. The choice of the detector depends on the temperature range and sensitivity required by the application. However, these days microbolometer detectors or short µbolo or LWIR detectors are most widely used for thermal imaging.

Do thermal cameras good for hunting?

Yes, thermal cameras and thermal monoculars are very popular tools for hunting. Hunters use thermal imaging equipment to detect animals and birds, especially in the dark. A thermal camera can detect animals in the dark because the animals emit heat. Meanwhile, the thermal camera can see heat emitted from the animals and the hunter can identify them easily on their camera screens.

The best handheld thermal imager for hunting is one that has high sensitivity and the ability to detect even small changes in temperature.

Related post: 10 Best 10×50 Binoculars For Hunting 2022

Applications of Thermal Imaging 

The first thermal imaging devices were used by military forces to detect enemy soldiers on the battlefield. Nowadays, thermal imaging is used in many fields like agriculture, construction, industrial applications, fire detection, security, and more. Here are some important applications of thermal imaging.

1. Military surveillance

It is often used in the field of search and rescue to find people who are lost in the wilderness. Thermal imaging is also used in law enforcement to help identify suspects and in the military to locate and track enemy forces.

2. Maintenance and Repair of equipment

Thermography is used for a variety of purposes such as quality control, defect detection, and maintenance. It is a non-invasive technique used to detect anomalies in structures, materials, and components, such as cracks, corrosion, stress, porosity, moisture, voids, and other defects, and is even used in infrared cameras for roof inspection.

3. Medical diagnosis

Thermal imaging is a very effective tool for non-destructive testing (NDT). It is used in medical diagnosis for the purpose of detecting diseases, injuries, tumors, and other abnormalities in the human body. It is a non-invasive technique that can detect various health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. It is also a good alternative to x-ray testing and other invasive methods.

4. Agriculture

It is used in agriculture to detect crop diseases and to predict weather conditions. It is also used in plant science to study plant growth and development. It is also used in the food industry to check the temperature of foods and beverages.

5. Traffic Safety

Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Using thermal imaging technology, police officers can detect speeding cars and drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol.

It is used in traffic safety to detect hidden hazards, such as ditches, potholes, and speed bumps. It is also used in the process of accident investigation.

6. Fire detection

Fire detection is another area where thermal imaging has been widely used. In fact, the majority of thermal imaging cameras used in fire detection are equipped with night vision capability. This allows firefighters to detect fires at night and even in smoke-filled environments.

Frequently Asked Questions

From which materials can Thermal Imaging See Through?

Thermal imaging can see through fog, smoke, snow, air, rain, dust, and sand. It can also be used in a low visibility environment.

From which materials can’t Thermal Imaging See Through?

Thermal imaging can’t see through metal, trees, human body, glass, underground, water, aluminum foil, and concrete.

Important: Glass can block infrared radiations falling in the low-frequency range but allow the high-frequency (White hot) IR to pass through.

Can we Block Infrared Thermal Imaging?

Yes, you can block thermal imaging by hiding behind the trees, and glass, and covering yourself with a wool blanket. Here are more details on How to Block Infrared Thermal Imaging?

Can we See Infrared Cameras at Night?

You can’t see infrared cameras with a naked eye, but there are some tricks like you can use your smartphone camera to see the hidden infrared camera. Learn more; Can You See Infrared Cameras At Night?

Final Thought

Yes, thermal imaging uses infrared sensors to detect heat signatures in objects. The basic principle of thermal imaging is to measure the amount of energy (infrared rays) emitted by an object. It does this by detecting the difference in temperature between the object and its surroundings. The devices that use this technology are called thermal imagers. They are used in a wide variety of applications such as medical, firefighting, industrial, military, and security. They can detect objects from far away and also in low visibility conditions. Thermal imaging can see through smoke, fog, rain, and sand but can’t see through glass, metal, trees, concrete, and aluminum foil.

Read More: Do Night Vision Cameras Emit Light? 

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