Active Thermography for Non-Destructive Material Testing

Active thermography for aircraft engineering - Picture Credits: © Jaros /

Active thermography is the induction of a heat flow by energetically exciting a test object. The heat flow is influenced by interior material layers and defects. These inhomogeneities can be captured on the surface by high-precision infrared cameras. The additional application of different evaluation algorithms improves the signal-to-noise-ratio which allows for detection of smallest defects.

Modular System Design for Precisely Fitting Inspections

The versatile application options of active thermography require an elaborate configuration of every single inspection system. InfraTec offers a wide variety of necessary components along with a modular system architecture. The high-resolution infrared cameras, efficient control and evaluation software as well as the continuously operable excitation sources and controllers are interchangeable within the system and therefore allow a flexible adaptation to upcoming requirements.

Lock-in Thermography in Electronics and Electrical Engineering

By means of lock-in analysis procedure of InfraTec's IRBIS® 3 active, errors that only cause mK or μK deviations can be reliably detected and assigned to their location:

InfraTec Lock-in Thermography; Classical thermal imaging – defect not detectable

Classical thermal imaging – defect not detectable

InfraTec Lock-in Thermography; Amplitude image – analysis by Lock-in Thermography

Amplitude image – analysis by Lock-in Thermography

InfraTec Lock-in Thermography; Combination of live and amplitude image

Combination of live and amplitude image

Infrared Cameras with Highest Precision

Cooled high-end infrared cameras with fast photon detectors of the ImageIR® series and non-cooled microbolometer cameras of the latest VarioCAM® High Definition generation are used for active thermography.

Geometric resolutions of up to (1,280 x 1,024) IR pixels and thermal resolutions far below 0.015 K are a precise technical basis for the detection of smallest material defects. High image acquisition frequencies allow for measurements of materials with high heat conductivity, such as metals. We also offer an extensive assortment of lenses and optics to image large test objects as well as microscopic structures.

Get in contact with InfraTec thermography division

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United States

InfraTec infrared LLC
75024 Plano, TXUSA

Case Studies about Active Thermography

InfraTec Uni Bayreuth - Analysis of the Thermal Conductivity
Analysis of the Thermal Conductivity

Analysis of the Thermal Conductivity in Nano- and Mesostructured Polymer Systems

New materials with precisely controlled optical and thermal transport characteristics can make a large contribution to resource-saving thermal management. Scientists of the University of Bayreuth are pursuing this vision. They use infrared thermography to quantitatively determine thermal conductivity in nano- and mesostructured polymer materials.

Thermal Stress Analysis of Metals
High‐End‐Thermography with ImageIR® 8300 hp

Thermal Stress Analysis of Metals

Stress changes during tensile testing provide information about material properties of metals such as tensile strength. With the help of thermographic cameras metallic solid bodies can be tested for such stress changes.

ARAMIS system from GOM - Picture credits: GOM GmbH
Further information about ARAMIS system from GOM and infrared cameras from InfraTec

Combination of Digital Image Correlation and Thermographic Measurements

The combination of measuring results from the digital image correlation (ARAMIS, DIC) and temperature measuring data from infrared cameras permits the simultaneous analysis of the thermal and mechanical behavior of test specimens in the materials and components testing field.

Quality Assurance with Active Thermography
Usage of ImageIR® to test laser welds of body components

Quality Assurance with Active Thermography

Non-destructive testing methods are becoming increasingly more important in the industry. One reason is that they cost much less than other test methods. As a very elegant method, the active heat flow thermography method is now firmly established as a powerful method of non-contact and non-destructive testing of products of different manufacturing technologies.

Efficient Control and Analysis Software for Active Thermography

Active thermography software IRBIS 3

The thermography software IRBIS® 3 active analyses the thermo-graphic sequences, which have been generated during the test, and edits them to create a false colour image, in which defects can be marked for further evaluation or documentation. For this purpose, several different analysis procedures are available. The choice of the correct algorithm depends on the material characteristics, geometry and type of defects to be detected. 

While the quotient method investigates the heat flow of the test object by reference to the increase and decrease of the surface temperature, the pulse-phase thermography (PPT) relies on the analysis of the temperature profile of different frequencies. For each frequency, two event images are generated, one amplitude- and one phase image. The lock-in thermography (LIT) analyses the sequence of periodic excitation of the test object.

Publications of our Customers

Lock-in Thermography for analyzing solar cells and failure analysis in other electronic components

Thermography automation system: PV-LIT

Optimizing thermographic testing of thick GFRP plates by assessing the real energy absorbed within the material

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 9300

Nondestructive testing by using long-wave infrared interferometric techniques with CO2 lasers and microbolometer arrays

Infrared camera: VarioCAM® hr

Thermal shock behaviour of laminated multilayer refractories for steel casting applications reinforced by residual stresses

Infrared camera: VarioCAM® hr

Autonomous Robotic System for Thermographic Detection of Defects in upper Layers of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers

Infrared camera: ImageIR® Series

Non-destructive inspection of aircraft composite materials using triple IR imaging

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 5300 & VarioCAM® hr head 600

Passive impulse thermography during quasi-static tensile tests of fiber reinforced composites

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 8300 hp series

Thermografie mit optimierter Anregung für die quantitative Untersuchung von Delaminationen in kohlenstofffaserverstärkten Kunststoffen (Language: German)

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 8800

Review of thermal imaging systems in composite defect detection

Infrared cameras: ImageIR® 8300 and ImageIR® 8800

Lock-in Thermography for the Development of New Materials

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 8300

Konzeption und Aufbau einer robotergestützten Plattform für optisch angeregte Wärmefluss-Thermografie (Language: German)

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 8300

Thermografische Lasernahtprüfung von Mehrblech-Verbindungen im Automobil-Karosseriebau (Language: German)

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 5300

Transiente Methoden der Infrarot-Thermografie zur
zerstörungsfreien Fehleranalytik in der mikroelektronischen
Aufbau- und Verbindungstechnik (Language: German)

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 8300

Infra-red thermometry of alpine landscapes challenges climatic warming projections

Infrared camera: VarioCAM® series

NDT DAMAGE DIAGNOSIS ON SANDSTONE – Case Study of Gelnhausen, Germany

A reference-free micro defect visualization using pulse laser scanning thermography and image processing

Infrared camera: ImageIR® 8300 series

Optimized Data Acquisition with the IGI DigiTHERM Thermal Camera System

Example for Automated Lock-In Measurement

Automated Lock-In measurement with E-LIT from InfraTec

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Defect-specific excitation sources and controllers

Different types of defects of various materials can be detected by utilising specific energetic excitation units. InfraTec chooses the suiting excitation source, such as high-performance flashes, inductive units, hot- and cold air blowers and homogeneous halogen radiators, for the respective test situation.

Applications of Active Thermography

Active thermography is applied in most diverse manufacturing technologies for offline testing as well as inline testing of series production.

  • Detection of layer structures, delaminations and inserts in plastics
  • Detection in CFRPs of the automotive and aerospace industry
  • Investigation of interior structures or impacts on honeycomb lightweight constructions
  • Recognition of deeper material deficiencies, such as blowholes in plastic parts or ruptured laser welding seams
Active thermography in automotive industry - Picture Credits: © Rainer /

Associated Thermographic Automation Solutions

  • Welding seams and welding spots testing with WELD-CHECK
    Welding Inspection - WELD-CHECK

    Welding Inspection - WELD-CHECK

    Using pulse thermography, WELD-CHECK enables you a quantitative assessment of the inspected welds.

  • Automated Testing Solution ACTIVE-LIT - Header - Picture Credits: © / scorpp
    Electronic / Semiconductor Testing - E-LIT

    Electronic / Semiconductor Testing - E-LIT

    Detect inhomogeneous temperature distribution and local power loss during the production using the Lock-in thermography.

  • PV-LIT test solution for solar cells
    Photovoltaic Test System - PV-LIT

    Photovoltaic Test System - PV-LIT

    Get advantages in costing and quality by non-contact thermographic testing of your solar cells and PV-modules.

Infrared Cameras for Active Thermography Applications