Free Thermography Training & Thermal Imaging Courses
This article outlines some essential thermography training videos and several thermal imaging training courses.
These free resources should help you get the most out of our range of thermal imaging cameras. I'd encourage you to set aside an hour or two to go through this valuable content.
1) Thermography Training - What is Thermal Imaging?
Before we get started, let's clear up the terminology.
Infrared (IR) radiation refers to wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum that are longer than those of visible light. In the same way that you cannot see radio waves, you can't see infrared with the naked eye.
You'll notice in the graphic below that infrared has nothing to do with 'x-rays' which are a type of short wave radiation. It's for this reason you can't see through an object with a thermal imaging camera. Although, it often does appear that way, as you'll see in some of the videos below.
Where infrared sits in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Thermography refers to the use and interpretation of infrared images taken by a thermal imaging camera. Said in more words on Wikipedia:
Infrared thermography, thermal imaging, and thermal video are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermographic cameras detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects with a temperature above absolute zero, thermography makes it possible to see one's environment with or without visible illumination.
A thermal imaging camera or thermal scanner is a device that captures images in the infrared spectrum. This is unlike a regular digital or film camera which can only reproduce the world as we see it - in the visual spectrum.
Three styles of thermal or infrared cameras.
2) Thermography Training - Key Thermal Imaging Concepts & Examples
The following video 'Basics of Infrared Thermomgrpahy' goes for 25 minutes.
It highlights a wide range of use cases for thermal imaging. In the process, you can glean some of the most critical thermography training concepts to be aware of.
The video is produced by the Infrared Training Center which is the paid-for training arm of FLIR Systems. As such, the video is a bit of a sales pitch for their multi-day infrared training courses which the vast majority of our customers do not require.
As you'll see in the above video, the visual and thermal world can look very different. For example, the visually-vivid photo in the trainer's lobby comes up blank on a thermal camera - except for a handprint where someone has recently touched the wall. The trainer forgets to mention this key point (and explain the presence of the handprint) in the video!
Here are some key takeaway messages from the above thermography training video:
- Heat capacitance of an object (how it responds to and stores thermal energy) affects its thermal signature.
- The colour of an object does not necessarily affect things in the infrared spectrum.
- Even ice and snow emit detectable thermal energy.
- Materials with different moisture content radiate differently.
- Emissivity is a crucial concept in thermal imaging - more on this below.
- A thermal camera cannot see through physical objects, including glass windows.
- You can see through some things in infrared that you can't see through visually (like smoke).
- Thermal resolution is a critical specification for thermal imaging cameras. The higher the resolution, the further you can see (all else being equal).
At about 9 minutes into the video, the trainer outlines a range of useful thermal imaging applications. These include: detecting electrical hot spots, inspecting motors, tank levels, values, belt drives, insulation, air conditioning vents, water leaks, manufacturing applications, and more.
From about 16 minutes onwards the video dials up the sales-pitch and includes a few more useful examples.
3) Infrared Inspection Training - Thermal Emissivity
The following short video helps explain the important concept of emissivity.
Emissivity describes the ability of an object to emit thermal radiation. It's a setting that you can manually adjust - even on our lower-cost thermal cameras like the FLIR One Pro.
To adjust emissivity settings, and correct for it, you need to know how it works. In this video, you can see how to overcome accuracy issues when measuring shiny metal objects - or other reflective surfaces.
4) Free Online Thermal Imaging Training Courses
Now that you've done some basic thermal imaging training, it's worth delving into the specifics of your particular infrared camera.
And in this regard, I have an excellent - and free - online thermal imaging training resources to share with you. The website is not the easiest to navigate, but if you follow the steps below, you should have no issues.
Step 1) Register Here - it's free, and you get instant access to the online content.
Step 2) Go to the relevant page in the following list:
- FLIR ONE Course - for FLIR One and One Pro.
- FLIR Cx Course - for FLIR C2 and C3.
- FLIR Ex Course - for FLIR E5, E6, E8 as well as the latest 'XT' versions that we sell.
- FLIR Ex5 Course - for FLIR E75, E85, & E95.
Step 3) Click 'Enrol' and follow the prompts. The navigation for these online thermography courses is not always clear. As such, I have included some screenshots below to aid completion of your selected training.
After enrolling, click the button on the right of the screen to launch the content. To return to this screen after you have completed a module, click the red 'X' at the top right of the screen. You can then proceed to the next section.
Once you have completed all modules and quiz, you can download a PDF certificate.
5) Applying Your Thermography Training
Having complete the above training, you are now in an excellent position to start applying this knowledge in the real world.
If you haven't already, it's time to get your hands on a thermal camera. Their relative affordability now makes them accessible to most trades, professions, and even home hobbyists.
Next, get out there are start seeing the world in a 'new light' of infrared! If you're looking for inspiration about what else you can do with thermal imaging, check out my blog post below: