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The Basic Physics Behind Thermography

Understanding these basics will make you a better thermographer!

The first law of thermodynamics is a scientific law that states when mechanical work is transformed into heat, or when heat is transformed into work, the amount of work and heat are always equivalent. An advantage for thermographers is the fact that a byproduct of nearly all energy conversions is heat, or thermal energy.  Energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Temperature is a measure of the relative hotness or coldness of a body when compared to another. We unconsciously make comparisons to our body temperature or ambient air temperature and to the boiling and freezing points of water.

The second law of thermodynamics states when a temperature difference exists between two objects, thermal energy transfers from the warmer areas (higher energy) to the cooler areas (lower energy) until thermal equilibrium is reached. A transfer of heat results in either electron transfer or increased atomic or molecular vibration. This is important because these effects are measured when temperature is measured.

At a later time we will dive deeper into these basic concepts on this blog—so stay tuned!

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