Many industrial processes involve flows of fluids and gases above or below ambient temperature, or the flow of electric currents. These flows can be used to diagnose system condition and find flaws, leakages and other problems in a number of ways.
Thermal Testing has a large number of surprisingly different applications. A well-known engineering application is the use of thermal testing to find hot spots in electric circuits and power lines. This technique can be used to identify locations with bad connections and indicate areas vulnerable to system failure.
Thermography has also been used for pipeline testing. A leak in a pipeline carrying liquids or gases at temperatures different from the ambient temperature will show on infrared pictures.
Infrared techniques can also be used to detect thinning of material when used in combination with an infrared flashlight. By monitoring the flow of heat through the component, thinner areas can be detected because heat diffuses at a different rate at these locations. Thin areas may be caused by corrosion on the backside of the structure.
While Thermal Testing only displays the temperature at the surface of an object, it may hold a lot of information about the conditions below. Thermal Testing has the advantage of being performed well away from the object and thus, it can be applied with very little disturbance to the object. Thermal Testing is very accurate; it can detect very small changes in temperature