What is infrared thermography?
Infrared thermography is the science of detecting infrared energy emitted from an object, converting it to apparent temperature, and displaying the result as an infrared image. Literally, infrared thermography means “beyond red” (infrared) “temperature picture” (thermography) ~ http://en-us.fluke.com.
On 2008 I joined infrared themography level 1 certification managed by ITC (http://www.infraredtraining.com). This training teaches about the basic knowledge about infrared thermography, how to use infrared camera and things that can affect the results of shooting.
If we use infrared camera, then we can capture the thermal image without touching directly with the equipment. This means we can capture thermal information from the operating equipment at a safe distance and have a better chance of viewing temperature anomalies under normal operating conditions. The most popular infrared camera captures a radiometric thermal image containing clear temperature measurements for each pixel in the image. With that ability, we can understand the anomaly and then trace it to calculate the apparent temperature of the points in question.
Infrared thermography ideal for applications where components are moving, hot, harmful to touch, hard to reach, impossible to shut down, or can be contaminated or damaged through contact. Infrared cameras are also helpful in detecting energy or moisture related problems in buildings.
In oil & gas industry and petrochemical industry, Infrared thermography is widely used for inspection of electrical equipment to look for anomalies so that we can avoid fires. We also use this tool to look for anomalies that occur inside a pipe or oil tanks. This tool can detect the presence of sediment or plug so that inhibits fluid flow.
Some things to keep in mind that it is actually very difficult to know the accurate temperature. But we can use this tool to know the existence of anomaly. For example, we are not interested in knowing the exact temperature of the pipe, but we are interested to know the existence of sedimentation or plugs that occur inside the pipeline.