Infrared Thermography (IR) is a nondestructive test method that utilizes an infrared camera to produce visual images that display the thermal signatures of materials. IR cameras use a germanium lens to detect invisible infrared radiation of a material and convert the corresponding intensity into a two-dimensional image representing temperature differentials. Temperatures are shown onscreen as a range of shades and/or colors that represent the emitted, transmitted, or reflected energy detected by the camera.
IR energy operates in the invisible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum extending from 0.75 to 1000 microns (µm). All objects warmer than absolute zero (0° K or -275.15°C) emit energy somewhere within that range. IR can instantly detect subsurface anomalies within and below the test elements.
IR can be used to detect anomalies in surface radiance that may be related to a subsurface condition of the material. IR is commonly used to detect internal flaws such as delaminations, cracks, and poor consolidation or honeycombing in concrete, stone, and masonry structures. For building envelope applications, IR can be used to detect problems related to moisture intrusion, air exfiltration, heat loss, or material defects. Interpretation of IR images requires careful attention by a trained IR thermographer. YAES engineers and architects have extensive experience using IR to investigate building performance issues including moisture surveys for roof and cladding assemblies, air leakage testing, determining the presence of grouted cells in CMU construction, locating defects within layers of fiber-reinforced polymer sheets, and numerous other applications.