Infrared Training Center

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Frogs are Cool! (well, actually they are ambient!)

By Ron Lucier, ASNT NDT Level III, FLIR Infrared Training Center

There is a nice koi pond not 50 feet away from my pool, filled with fish, plants and plenty of flying protein. Yet this American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), also known in certain parts of the US South as (tastiest frieduppes legges) has taken residence in my pool and has become quite tame. The silly frog will even swim up to me!

Anyway, according to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_bullfrog) frogs are “cold blooded” as are all amphibians. Let’s examine that term!

The following image was taken with my FLIR T650sc – I inverted the Grey scale for clarity.

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Yes, time to vacuum the pool but we have had thunderstorms the past two days!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

ITC’s Live Webcasts and On-Demand Webinars Go Global

Matt Schwoegler, Infrared Training Center 

About 18 months ago the Infrared Training Center (ITC) launched a new and improved webinar program covering a variety of free topics on the basics of thermography and its many applications.  Since January 2014 we have successfully hosted 40 live webcasts and are now offering 15 on-demand webinars that are available for viewing at any time. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as additional live webinar dates for July, August and September are announced.

Starting next week, however, our webinars will also take on a more global focus as ITC begins hosting regularly scheduled topics specific to certain countries, regions and languages with a variety of new live broadcasts that originate from the United Kingdom, France, and Sweden. 

The benefit of running these webinars globally will not only improve the overall viewing experience by offering more convenient local broadcast times, it also allows ITC to start presenting live sessions in other native languages, beginning with French and German.  Content of course will be delivered by global ITC instructors in their respective home countries and will eventually contain material that is more appropriate, and better customized, for their regional audiences.

For those of you who still may not be familiar with these, ITC’s complimentary educational webinars are designed to provide a valuable overview of thermal imaging and its many applications. By attending these free, interactive, online sessions participants learn not only the basics of infrared thermography, but also where IR can reduce costs, save energy and increase safety for professionals across a variety of industries. 

To view the latest topics, dates and times of ITC’s new global webinar schedule, please visit the ITC EMEA website at www.irtraining.eu.  For the latest US-based live webcasts, and a listing of all on-demand webinars currently available, please visit www.infraredtraining.com/webinars

Thursday, May 28, 2015

InfraMation 2015 Conference Review

Matt Schwoegler, Infrared Training Center

The industry’s leading thermal training experience offered that, and a whole lot more, as the 2015 InfraMation conference rode through downtown Nashville, Tennessee May 11-14 at the Renaissance Hotel.  Approximately 60 paper presentations, training clinics & poster sessions provided the nearly 500 attendees with a wealth of learning and networking opportunities not seen anywhere else in the world of thermography:



About half of those in attendance took advantage of the pre-conference training day on Monday, May 11, joining clinics run by industry experts on a variety of topics, both beginning and advanced, in Condition Monitoring, Building Performance, IR Software and Optical Gas Imaging. 

The main conference continued on Tuesday, May 12 with an opening keynote by Brent Bushnell, CEO of Two Bit Circus, a Los Angeles-based experiential entertainment company. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

All About the Timing: Insulation Inspections and Solar Loading

Matt Schwoegler, Infrared Training Center

The effects of the Sun on the surface of a building can make inspections quite challenging for thermographers looking for missing insulation.  The transient conditions created by solar loading not only mask infrared patterns on the exterior, it also impacts the thermal signature on the interior, perhaps leading one to believe (in the right conditions) that a wall appears to be uninsulated, when in fact it is insulated. 

To capture this, I recently set-up an infrared camera at home to monitor thermal changes on a south facing wall from the interior. The plan was to image the pattern reversal that occurs on an interior surface when the Sun heats the exterior up to a point where the direction of heat flow in the wall reverses, even though the air temperature remains colder outside.

FLIR0239I programmed the camera to record an image every 15 minutes starting at 7:00 a.m. Conditions at the time were ideal to check for insulation problems in a wood-frame building given the interior air temperature of 68˚F (20˚C) and an exterior air temperature of 33˚F (0.5˚C). The first image taken, seen here on the right, shows a wall which appears to be mostly well insulated (warm cavities and cooler framing). As the day progressed, however, the situation changed dramatically.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Infrared Training Center Visits Local Elementary School

by Alex Chrusciel
Infrared Training Center

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In the pursuit lifelong learning, Alex and Jason of the Infrared Training Center (ITC) paid a visit to a local elementary school looking to recruit the next generation of thermographers. What originally began as a single class demonstration (roughly 25 kids) blossomed into a gathering of the entire fifth grade class, over 90 children!

During a brief hour long presentation, the students were exposed to a crash course on infrared application and technology. The session sought to answer three basic questions: what is infrared, why do we use it, and how does it work?

The enthusiasm displayed by the students was both refreshing and uplifting. Not only could we see the energy we could feel it as well! The kids were shown hands on demonstrations which made learning about conduction, convection, and radiation heat transfer both fun and exciting.

The radiant culture of infrared (no pun intended) left a lasting impression on the children as well as the faculty. The session concluded with a quick photo opp. and an extended invitation to make an annual presentation for the students.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn” - Benjamin Franklin

Monday, April 13, 2015

ThermalSpeak – building efficiency and thermal bridging

by Jay Bowen
BPI Energy Analyst
ASNT NDT Level 3 Thermographer

Building conversations in training this week brought up the subject of thermal bridging in the structure. Defined by a material of less insulation or greater conductivity. This material bridges or short circuits the better insulation and reduces its effectiveness. This reduces the overall R value rating of the whole assembly. The following website,  http://web.ornl.gov/sci/roofs+walls/AWT/home.htm , addresses this whole wall rating concept. This isn’t a debate of test methods or approaches. It is enough to say that anything put in the wall that reduces the energy of that wall should be addressed in the construction process.

My input on this subject is finding these, before construction begins and discussion with a builder, methods to reduce or eliminate these bridges. Verification of the design or confirmation as building progresses would be where a thermographer can enter the process and provide proof that the building project has conformed to this concept of design.

The images from a qualified thermographer provide detailed analysis of construction detail typically hidden from the inspectors or builders.

Taking a set of images to compare this approach can clearly see the advantage of reducing the vertical framing typical of stick built construction. Even the wide wall of 2x6 framing to increase the side wall dimensions for increased insulation. This is an increase in the R value but the thermal bypass of the stud is still there.

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Using SIP to reduce bridging

Standard stick frame wall

Looking at a SIP wall can visualize the reduction in the bypasses by reducing the vertical framing. The corners and joints are still present but can be reduced by the same methods of stick built using exterior insulated sheathing.

Making the bridge elimination or reduction a conscious thought in the whole building process can have substantial rewards in energy saving in the home.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

New Live Webcast Topics Added Through June 2015

mechanical-insulationThe Infrared Training Center (ITC) is pleased to announce that a number of live webcasts have been added to the schedule for the 2nd quarter of 2015 including some fresh topics in the mix.  For a complete listing of available dates and times, please visit ITC’s webinar page here:

http://www.infraredtraining.com/webinars

ITC’s complimentary educational webinars are designed to provide a valuable overview of thermal imaging and its many applications. Participants learn not only the basics of infrared thermography, but also where IR can reduce costs, save energy and increase safety for professionals across a variety of industries.

Can’t make any of the scheduled broadcast dates? Not to worry, all live sessions are recorded for playback at any time. These on-demand presentations are also listed on the main webinar page and are accessed with a simple (and free) registration.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Veterinary Thermal Imaging Course

September 9th to September 12th, 2015, San Luis Obispo, California

This course is RACE approved for 26 CE hours and is endorsed by the American Academy of Thermology. Designed to teach Veterinarians all aspects of Thermal Imaging through lectures, case-based problem-solving & practical experience, this course is presented by Internationally recognized Thermographers:
  • Dr. Tracy Turner
  • Dr. Kimberly Henneman
  • Dr. Ken Marcella
The workshop consists of all species related lectures and interactive wet labs. The course focuses on clinical thermal imaging as it is incorporated in a multi-modality approach to achieving diagnosis.
Participation will provide attendees with a functional understanding of the use and application of thermal imaging in all aspects of clinical veterinary practice.
More information

Friday, February 20, 2015

Warm Feet, Cold Reality

Matt Schwoegler, Infrared Training Center

It can take being uncomfortable for some homeowners to really start thinking about the efficiency of their house. Certainly, the bill from the electric company or that propane truck *once again* backing into the driveway all serve as painful reminders that your home uses (too much) energy. However, when air leakage across the floor leaves you with cold feet, or you find yourself always shivering from a draft on a windy day, it starts to get old...fast. Experiences like this can help motivate one to consider putting energy efficiency improvements on the fast track.

This assumes, of course, that the occupants are *feeling* cold in the first place. How about when it might not be as obvious, such as the case here? Sometimes thermal imaging can help a homeowner understand why what they are experiencing (feeling) is very different from what is actually happening.

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FLIR1006

These infrared images (above) were taken near the rim joist in the basement of a contemporary-style home built in 1984.  The residence has wood floors, fiberglass insulation and, not surprisingly, a decent amount of air leakage (3550 CFM 50).

As expected, one of the larger areas of air infiltration in the structure is located around the rim joist. What you will notice too is that the home also has a radiant floor heating system (images below):

Monday, February 2, 2015

Inspecting Steam Valves with Thermography

by Ron Lucier, ASNT NDT Level III
They are several types of steam valves:
  • Isolation Valves
  • Control Valves
  • Non-Return Valves
  • Safety Relief Valves
How you inspect them is different, but first, a little bit about steam. When you boil water at atmosphere it will reach 212˚F (100˚C).  Put it in a pressure vessel and continue heating, adding another 960 or so BTU’s and it becomes steam, but still at 212˚F (100˚C).  Pretty useless, though.  Keep heating it and the pressure goes up.  That heat is called enthalpy.  That’s the energy steam turbine blades extract via pressure drop to make power and it’s an important concept in steam valve leakage diagnosis.

Isolation Valves
Steam is hot and many valves and lines are insulated.  This is a problem for inspection.  I used to have holes in insulation cut anywhere from 10 to 16 “pipe diameters” away from the valve, on the bottom of the pipe and use high temp black paint.  I would also cut a hole in a convenient location upstream of the valve and within a day of startup establish a baseline.