Newsletter Archive – June 2019

Volume 8 Issue 6 – June 2019

Director’s Message

Urban myths – stories of things or events that are not true – have been a part of popular culture for years. Over the past ten years, the thermographic community has developed one of its own regarding thermal imaging and polar bears.

During a recent Level I class, I stated that although thermal imaging had once been a relatively obscure technology, it can now be found on a near-daily basis within mass media. The very next morning a student brought a Snapple® bottle cap to class which had the following printed on its underside:
“Real Fact” #726 A polar bear cannot be seen by an infrared camera, due to its transparent fur.

Although it has been widely reported that polar bears are invisible to a thermal imaging system, this is simply not true. Despite the insulating properties of their fur coats, polar bears can be detected with a thermal imager and their fur is not transparent. In fact, scientists from the United States and Russia have successfully used thermal imaging for population counts of wild polar bears in arctic regions.

While thermal imaging may seem easy, proper interpretation of data relies upon a trained thermographer who understands infrared theory, heat transfer concepts, thermal imager operation, and the objects or systems being inspected. It is not a technology that can be learned exclusively from media sound bites, web posts, or the underside of bottle caps.

At present, there is a fair amount of misinformation regarding thermal imaging within mass media and on the world wide web. Thermographers who encounter someone who has been misinformed should seek to be good ambassadors of our technology by patiently helping that person to have a better and more accurate understanding of thermal imaging.

Using IR Imaging to Monitor Drywall Installation

Finishing drywall is a routine part of commercial and residential construction. A thermal imager can be used to help assess the drying process associated with newly installed compound.

Drywall finishing often requires multiple coats of compound which are applied over several days to provide the desired surface quality. For best results, previously applied layers of compound should be thoroughly dry before successive coats are applied. Water evaporating from freshly applied compound causes pronounced cooling which can be readily detected with a thermal imager.

When using a thermal imager to inspect drywall compound, keep the following in mind:

  • Choose an imager with sufficient thermal sensitivity and resolution
  • Ensure that humidity and temperature levels are conducive to drying
  • Always manually adjust imager’s level and gain controls for best thermal contrast


Lastly, missing or damaged insulation may create thermal anomalies across inspected walls; however, such thermal patterns will often be much larger than compounded areas.

Standards for Infrared Inspections

At present, Infraspection Institute publish the most comprehensive list of standards for infrared thermography. Coauthored by numerous expert thermographers, these standards outline industry best practices and are updated regularly to reflect current trends and technology.

Eleven comprehensive standards covering equipment operation, temperature measurement, and specific thermographic applications are available from Infraspection Institute. Each standard provides simple and straightforward procedures along with requirements for properly documenting test results. These documents are a ‘must-have’ for anyone who specifies, performs, or oversees infrared inspections.

Call for Papers for IR/INFO 2020

Infraspection Institute are pleased to announce that our annual Advanced Training Conference, Technical Symposium and Technology Expo, IR/INFO 2020, will be held January 19 – 22, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. Now in its 31st year, IR/INFO features four days of networking, learning, and fun in a relaxed, yet professional, family atmosphere.
We are presently seeking papers and presenters for IR/INFO 2020. Invited topics include, but are not limited to: safety, emerging applications, building sciences, related NDT, case histories, as well as tips and tricks.

Presentations are typically 20-25 minutes with 5 minutes for questions and answers with the audience. All papers and presentations will be published in the IR/INFO Conference Proceedings. The deadline for abstract submissions is July 31.