Thermal imaging in materials testing

New materials are being developed every day for use in the aircraft, automotive, military and industrial markets, making products lighter, stronger and more durable. New alloys, composite materials, rubber, plastic and adhesive materials need to be tested in various ways to validate that they meet the requirements expected of them. Variations in temperature over a product’s surface, regardless of size, shape or material type, can identify fatigue and potential failure points, allowing for a more detailed understanding of the product’s functionality and life cycle.

Using a fixed mount thermal imager allows technicians and engineers to:

1. Identify hot spots or detect the direction of heat transfer over the surface of a material or part.

2. Analyse failure points of the part(s) or material due to overheating.

3. Identify when material properties change due to heat generation.

4. Design and develop more efficient materials through the identification of high temperature or increased temperature variation.

Applications include supporting the development of new rubber compounds for protective covers on moving parts; rigidity and flexibility testing of structural adhesives (i.e. automotive, aerospace and industrial); new alloy development lifecycle testing; and material heat resistance testing.

The Raytek ThermoView TV40 thermal imaging camera with ThermoView software is an ideal choice for this application. The TV40 can be used during tensile strength testing to monitor heat release due to stressing and straining of materials. It can also be used during impact testing, where the heat release from materials is measured to monitor stages where materials break upon impact or are about to break. Furthermore, the use of thermal imaging during life-cycle testing identifies how heat may develop in a product as it is being used in a desired application. The Thermoview software allows flexibility and programmable AOIs (areas of interest) to cover various areas or an entire surface of the material or product. The AOIs can be linked to a global process alarm output controlling technician notification systems, initiating automatic shutdown procedures, or recording a video of the material or product at operating temperature or failure. The software package is easy to use by itself, or can be integrated into an existing network. The imager can be used to monitor temperature throughout the test process, so any abnormalities, hot or cold, can be identified, recorded and corrective action can be taken.

Read article on Instrumentation and Control South Africa