What Is Thermal Imaging?

What is thermal imaging

The basics of thermal imaging

The process of thermal imaging is one which uses the heat of an object, in order to locate the item, or to produce an image of it. It is used to help improve the visibility of an object in dark conditions, via infrared technologies, to create images, which are based on the information that is gleaned from the object you want to see.



What is thermal imaging used for?

Thermal imaging is one of the three most popular forms of night vision; along with near infrared illumination and low light imaging, it can capture the image you want to see, even in the darkest conditions. However, unlike the near infrared and low light methods, with thermal imaging no ambient light is required to capture the essence of the image. Fog, smoke, and haze are some of the obscurants which thermal imaging will process through.



Thermal imaging industrial & building uses

In industrial environments, thermal imaging is used to detect hot spots, which can lead to mechanical installation or electrical failures. Motor control centers and electric cabinets are regularly scanned with these cameras; this helps detect anomalies at the earlier stages of production, helping avoid breakdowns, and high costs.

In the building sector, thermal imaging equipment is also used, allowing building and construction professionals to find insulation losses, and other defects in the building and construction process.

By finding issues with insulation, building materials, and electrical wiring during the construction phase, this can end up saving a company thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. Spotting the issues early on, rather than after the structure is completed, is one of the many ways this equipment and technology has been put to use.


Thermal Imaging camera

How it works

Infrared energy (heat) is emitted by all objects, the infrared energy that is emitted is known as the object’s heat signature. In the most basic terms, the hotter it is, the more energy it is going to emit. A thermal sensor (camera), works similarly to a heat sensor, in that it can detect the differences in temperatures, in different objects.

Using the camera, it can detect the infrared radiation which is being emitted from the object which is being photographed. The objects which are being photographed produce the image based on the information which is gathered from this image, the camera can produce the outlining of the image, even in the darkest conditions.

Due to the fact that the object which is being photographed, is rarely the same temperature, as are the the surrounding temperatures which you are taking the image in, it has the capacity to capture the object being photographed. In turn, it can produce the base outline of the image that is being photographed.



How will the image appear?

Depending on the quality of the thermal camera that is being used to capture the images, the outline of the objects which are being photographed, will appear in different color scales. The thermal image generally appears in a grayscale. In the image, the colder objects appear in a black color outline, and the hot objects appear to be white in color Depending on the camera, and the variation of the temperature of the objects which are being photographed, there may also be different colors which will appear in the thermal image which is being captured.

Burn out fuses

With certain cameras and video devices, a false color display might also be used to interpret the objects being photographed or recorded. Colors can range from extremely bright whites, to dark black, reds, and blues, to indicate the temperature of the object, size, direction, and how the object is moving.



Thermal image


Thermal imaging can be used in a variety of ways. Due to the fact that thermal imaging devices are rather expensive, they are used for testing, security, medical, and similar industries, which have the means to purchase this pricey equipment. Regardless of the object which is being photographed, or the video which is being shot, there are a range of products one can purchase, when they are looking for the best thermal imaging technologies.


With the ability to capture the outline of any object, and the ability to give off the exact location of objects the naked eye can’t see, these devices can produce many benefits to users, for security and surveillance, in a number of distinct ways.