Thermography is a technique that can be implemented to perform numerous tasks in a wide range of industries. It opens up new possibilities and supplements other inspection methods. A non-contact, non-destructive technology, thermography is also used successfully outside industry, such as on animals and humans in the field of medicine as well as to assess works of art in the art world and in applications in archeology and biology. In medicine for example, thermal imaging can be used to identify inflammations or diagnose pregnancies in animals. The method is extremely gentle and can even be conducted a certain distance away from the patient. This makes it a good alternative for veterinary applications compared to conventional, contact methods. Thermography can be used in art history to analyze paintings and visualize structures or different layers or to evaluate frescos and other works of art in or on buildings. The walls of listed or protected buildings can be investigated for the presence of damp. Thermography is also utilized in archeology to visualize material differences or deposits in antique objects. Methods such as aerial archeology are already well-established as scientific aids. Thermography can also be used in biology to detect cell growth or dehydration processes in plants.
In addition to industrial applications, the department “Machine Vision and Signal Processing” at Fraunhofer IPA also implements thermography to support research work on other issues related to the fields of natural sciences, engineering and humanities. In collaboration with experts from the respective sciences, we develop thermographic techniques and image-processing methods to advance research and development.