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com ®


Rays X-Rays U.V. Infrared

0.1Å 1Å 10Å 100Å 0.1µ 1µ 10µ 100µ 0.1cm 1cm
3x1019 3x1018 3x1017 3x1016 3x1015 3x1014 3x1013 3x1012 3x1011 3x1
Frequency, Hz:
(cycles per second)




0.4 0.78 1 2 3 5
10,000 5,000 2,500 Wavelength, µm:
Wavenumber, cm-


Transmittance (%)




0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5



Microwaves TV AM Radio
Broadcast Signals

m 1cm 10cm 1m 10m 100m 1km 10km 100km

1011 3x1010 3x109 3x108 3x107 3x106 3x105 3x104 3x103



8 10 14 20 24
h, µm: 1,000 500
er, cm-1

Transmittance of 1 km Horizontal Air Path at Sea Level

Conditions from 1976 U.S. Standard Atmosphere
15° C Air Temperature (59° F)
5.9mm Precipitable Water (46% Relative Humidity)
1013 MB Atmospheric Pressure

.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 24

Wavelength µm


©1998 Putman Publishing Company and OMEGA Press LLC.


Non-Contact Temperature Measurement

A Technical Reference Series Brought to You by OMEGA





Section Topics Covered Page

Lens Light

• IR Through the Ages

1 A Historical Perspective • From Newton to Einstein 10
• Today’s Applications To Brain


Figure 1-1: The First IR Thermometer


• Radiation Basics Energy

2 Theoretical Development • Blackbody Concepts 17

• From Blackbodies to Real Surfaces Radiant


Figure 2-1: Radiation Energy Balance

Controlled Viewing Microscope
• The N Factor Eye

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers • Types of Radiation Thermometers Aperture Stop

Field Stop Sensor
• Design & Engineering Target Mirror And Lens
First Field Stop
Objective Lens Rotating
Filter Wheel
Figure 3-6: Ratio Pyrometry Via a Filter Wheel

• Thermocouple Basics 4 mV


4 Infrared Thermocouples • Self-Powered Infrared Thermocouples 2


• Installation Guidelines 2.68 mV

0 1

0 200 400 600 800
Figure 4-1: Thermocouple Operation

Schematic of the Infrared Spectrum 02 68 Information Resources
Table of Contents 06 72 Emissivity of Common Materials
Editorial 08 77 Glossary
About OMEGA 09 80 Index

Section Topics Covered Page

Blackbody Low Temperature Optical
Cavity Analyzer Detector
Single Crystal Optical Fiber
Sapphire (Al2O3)
• Fiber Advantages
5 Fiber Optic Extensions • Fiber Applications
Thin Film
Metal Coating
• Component Options Filter

Al2O3 Protective

Figure 5-2: Typical IR Fiber Optic Probe

• Infrared Linescanners False Color Image

6 Linescanning & Thermography • 2-D Thermographic Analysis Object

• Enter the Microprocessor
Two Dimensional Being
Thermograph Scanned

Figure 6-3: 2-D Thermographic Camera

1.0 0.95

0.8 0.8

• Why Calibrate?
Effective Emissivity, ε



7 Calibration of IR Thermometers • Blackbody Cavities 0.4

• Tungsten Filament Lamps 0.2
φ Cavity Surface


0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
Aperture Angle, φ (Deg)
Figure 7-2: Effective Emissivity of Spherical Cavities


• Alternative Configurations
8 Products & Applications • Application Guidelines 56
• Accessories & Options Hot Furnace Walls

Figure 8-2: Sighting on a Specular Surface


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OMEGA Technologies

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A Historical Perspective
IR Through the Ages
From Newton to Einstein
Today's Applications
A Historical Perspective
ur eyes only see the tiny energy being emitted by an object, People have been using infrared

O fraction of energy emitted

by the sun in the form of
visible light. However, if
we could see the infrared rays emit-
ted by all bodies—organic and inor-
the sensor can use integrated equa-
tions that take into account the
body’s material and surface qualities
to determine its temperature. In this
chapter, we will focus on the history
heat to practical advantage for thou-
sands of years. There is proof from
clay tablets and pottery dating back
thousands of years that the sun was
used to increase the temperature of
ganic—we could effectively see in of radiation thermometry and the materials in order to produce molds
the dark. Though invisible to the development of non-contact tem- for construction. Pyramids were
human eye, infrared radiation can perature sensors. built from approximately 2700-2200
be detected as a feeling of warmth B.C. of sun-dried bricks. The
on the skin, and even objects that Egyptians also made metal tools
are colder than ambient tempera- IR Through the Ages such as saws, cutting tools, and
ture radiate infrared energy. Some Although not apparent, radiation wedges, which were crafted by the
animals such as rattlesnakes, have thermometry has been practiced for experienced craftsmen of their time.
small infrared temperature sensors thousands of years. The first practical The craftsmen had to know how hot
located under each eye which can infrared thermometer was the human to make the metal before they could
sense the amount of heat being eye (Figure 1-1). The human eye con- form it. This was most likely per-
given off by a body. These sensors tains a lens which focuses emitted formed based on experience of the
help them to locate prey and pro- radiation onto the retina. The retina is color of the iron.
tect themselves from predators. stimulated by the radiation and sends Because fuel for firing was scarce,
Non-contact temperature sensors a signal to the brain, which serves as builders of Biblical times had to
use the concept of infrared radiant the indicator of the radiation. If prop- depend on the sun’s infrared radiation
energy to measure the temperature erly calibrated based on experience, to dry the bricks for their temples and
of objects from a distance. After the brain can convert this signal to a pyramids. The Mesopotamian remains
determining the wavelength of the measure of temperature. of the Tower of Babel indicate that it

Lens Light

To Brain


Figure 1-1: The First IR Thermometer

1 A Historical Perspective

was made of sun-dried brick, faced

with burnt brick and stone. In India,
a sewer system dating back to 2500
B.C. carried wastewater through
pottery pipes into covered brick
drains along the street and dis-
charged from these into brick cul-
verts leading into a stream.
In ancient Greece, as far back as
2100 B.C., Minoan artisans produced
things such as vases, statues, textiles.
By using sight, they could approximate
when a piece of material could be
shaped. Terra-cotta pipes were built
by heating them to a certain tempera-
ture and casting them into a mold.
In more recent years, special
craftsmen have relied on their own
senses to visualize when a material is
the correct temperature for molding Figure 1-2: Glass Manufacture Using Visual IR Temperature Measurement
or cutting. Sight has been used for
steel working, glass working, wax Europe, most likely they were light was a mixture of different colors.
molding, and pottery. From experi- formed in this way. Matter affected color only by absorb-
ence, skilled craftsmen learned to ing some kinds of light and transmit-
estimate the degree of heat required From Newton to Einstein ting or reflecting others.
in the kiln, smelter, or glass furnace The thermometer was invented in It was also Newton who, in 1675,
by the color of the interior of the Italy by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), proposed that light was made up of
heating chamber. Just as a classical about two hundred years before the small particles, or “corpuscles.” With
blacksmith, for example, might judge infrared light itself was discovered in this theory, Newton set out to mea-
the malleability of a horseshoe by its 1800, and about 100 years before the sure the relative sizes of these corpus-
cherry-red color. great English scientist Sir Isaac cles. From observations of the
In countries around the world, the Newton (1642-1727) investigated the eclipses of the moons of Jupiter,
technique of sight is still being used. nature of light by experimentation Newton realized that all light traveled
In Europe, glass molding craftsmen with prisms. at the same speed. Based on this
use sight to determine when glass is As published in Opticks in 1704, observation, Newton determined the
ready to be shaped (Figure 1-2). They Newton used glass prisms to show relative sizes of the different color
put a large piece of glass in a heating that white light could be split up into light particles by the refraction angles.
furnace by use of a large metal rod. a range of colors (Figure 1-3). The least In 1678, Christiaan Huygens (1629-
When the glass reaches the desired bent portion of the light consisted of 1695), a mathematician, astronomer,
color and brightness, they pull it out red, and then following in order, and natural scientist, challenged
of the oven and immediately form it orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and Newton’s “corpuscular” theory propos-
into the shape they want. If the glass violet, each merging gradually into the ing that light could be better under-
cools and loses the desired color or next. Newton also show that the dif- stood as consisting of waves. Through
brightness, they put it back in the ferent colors could be fed back the 1800s, the theory was well accept-
oven or dispose of it. The glass mak- through another prism to produce ed, and it eventually became important
ers know when the glass is ready, by white light again. Newton’s work in James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of
sight. If you have a chandelier made made it clear that color was an inher- electromagnetic radiation.
of glass, or hand-made glasses from ent property of light and that white Ironically for the field of infrared

A Historical Perspective 1

thermometry, infrared radiation was perature rose as he moved toward the duced an innumerable amount of
first discovered by using a conven- red end of the spectrum, and it lines, each an image of the slit and
tional thermometer. Friedrick seemed sensible to move the ther- each containing a very narrow band
William Herschel (1738-1822), a scien- mometer just past the red end in order of wavelengths. Some wavelengths
tist and astronomer, is known as the to watch the heating effect disappear. were missing however. The slit
father of sidereal astronomy. He It did not. Instead, the temperature images at those wavelengths were
studied the planets and was the first rose higher than ever at a spot dark. The result was that the solar
scientist to fully describe the Milky beyond the red end of the spectrum spectrum was crossed by dark lines.
Way galaxy. He also contributed to (Figure 1-4). The region was called These lines would later become
the study of the solar system and the infrared, which means “below the red.” important to the study of emission
nature of solar radiation. In 1800, How to interpret the region was and radiation.
England, he was experimenting with not readily apparent. The first In 1864, James Clerk Maxwell (1831-
sunlight. While using colored glasses impression was that the sun deliv- 1879) brought forth for the first time
to look at the Sun, Herschel noticed ered heat rays as well as light rays the equations which comprise the
that the sensation of heat was not and that heat rays refracted to a less- basic laws of electromagnetism. They
correlated to visible light (Figure 1-4). er extent than light rays. A half-cen- show how an electric charge radiates
This led him to make experiments tury passed before it was established waves through space at various defi-
using mercury thermometers and that infrared radiation had all the nite frequencies that determine the
glass prisms and to correctly properties of light waves except that charge’s place in the electromagnetic
hypothesize the existence of the it didn’t affect the retina of the eye spectrum—now understood to
invisible infrared heat waves. Until in such a way as to produce a sensa- include radio waves, microwaves,
Herschel, no one had thought to tion of light. infrared waves, ultraviolet waves,
put a thermometer and a prism The German physicist Joseph von X-rays, and gamma rays.
together to try to measure the Fraunhofer (1787-1826) investigated In addition, Maxwell’s equations’
amount of heat in each color. the solar spectrum in the early 1800s. most profound consequence was a
In 1800, Herschel had formed a sun- His spectroscope introduced parallel theoretical derivation of the speed
light spectrum and tested different rays of white light by passing sunlight of electricity—300,000 km/sec.—
parts of it with a thermometer to see through a slit. The light contacted a extremely close to the experimen-
if some colors delivered more heat prism, where the prism broke the tally derived speed of light. Maxwell
than others. He found that the tem- light into its constituent rays. He pro- observed and wrote, “The velocity is

Figure 1-3: Newton Splits, Recombines White Light

1 A Historical Perspective



Y ge

Gr ow

R d

le l

Figure 1-4: Herschel Discovers Infrared Light

so nearly that of light, that it seems could be obtained by Fraunhofer’s because of the observation that
we have strong reason to conclude spectroscope. They were able to when heating an iron rod, for exam-
that light itself…is an electromag- prove that each chemical element ple, it gives off heat and light. Its
netic disturbance in the form of emits a characteristic spectrum of radiation may be at first invisible, or
waves propagated through the elec- light that can be viewed, recorded, infrared, however it then becomes
tromagnetic field according to elec- and measured. The realization that visible and red-hot. Eventually it
tromagnetic laws.” Maxwell was bright lines in the emission spectra turns white hot, which indicates that
able to predict the entire electro- of the elements exactly coincided it is emitting all colors of the spec-
magnetic spectrum. in wavelength with the dark lines in trum. The spectral radiation, which
Another German, physiologist and the solar spectrum indicated that depends only on the temperature to
physicist Hermann von Helmholtz the same elements that were emit- which the body is heated and not on
(1821-1894), accepted Maxwell’s theo- ting light on earth were absorbing the material of which it is made,
ry of electromagnetism, recognizing light in the sun. As a consequence of could not be predicted by classical
that the implication was a particle this work, in 1859, Kirchhoff devel- physics. Kirchhoff recognized that “it
theory of electrical phenomena. “If oped a general theory of emission is a highly important task to find this
we accept the hypothesis that the and radiation known as Kirchhoff’s universal function.” Because of its
elementary substances [elements] law. Simply put, it states that a sub- general importance to the under-
are composed of atoms,” stated stance’s capacity to emit light is standing of energy, the blackbody
Helmholtz in 1881, “we cannot avoid equivalent to its ability to absorb it problem eventually found a solution.
concluding that electricity, also, pos- at the same temperature. An Austrian physicist, Josef Stefan
itive as well as negative, is divided The following year, Kirchhoff, set (1835-1893) first determined the rela-
into elementary portions which forth the concept of a blackbody. tion between the amount of energy
behave like atoms of electricity.” This was one of the results of radiated by a body and its tempera-
Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (1824- Kirchhoff’s law of radiation. A black- ture. He was particularly interested in
1887), a physicist and mathematician, body is defined as any object that how hot bodies cooled and how
worked with Robert Bunsen (1811- absorbs all frequencies of radiation much radiation they emitted. He
1899), an inorganic chemist and a when heated and then gives off all studied hot bodies over a consider-
physicist, in 1859 on a spectrometer frequencies when cooled. This devel- able range of temperatures, and in
that contained more than one prism. opment was fundamental to the 1879 determined from experimental
The spectroscope permitted greater development of radiation thermom- evidence that the total radiation
separation of the spectral lines than etry. The blackbody problem arose emitted by a blackbody varies as the

A Historical Perspective 1

fourth power of its absolute temper- to yellow to white. temperature and not on the nature
ature (Stefan’s law). In 1884, one of his Wien attempted to formulate an of the object itself. But at any given
former students, Ludwig Boltzmann empirical equation to fit this rela- temperature, light emitted from a
(1844-1906), determined a theoretical tionship. The complex equation heated cavity—a furnace, for exam-
derivation for Stefan’s experimentally worked well for high frequency ple—runs the gamut of spectral col-
derived law of blackbody radiation blackbody radiation (short wave- ors. Classical physics could not pre-
based on thermodynamic principles lengths), but not for low frequency dict this spectrum.
and Maxwell’s electromagnetic theo- radiation (long wavelengths). After several false starts, beginning
ry. The law, now known as the Stefan- Rayleigh’s theory was satisfactory for in 1897, Planck succeeded in finding a
Boltzmann fourth-power law, forms low frequency radiation. formula predicting blackbody radia-
the basis for radiation thermometry. In the mid-1890s, Max Karl Ernst tion. Planck was able to arrive at a for-
It was with this equation that Stefan Ludwig Planck (1858-1947), a German mula that represented the observed
was able to make the first accurate physicist and a former student of energy of the radiation at any given
determination of the surface tem- Kirchhoff, and a group of Berlin wavelength and temperature. He gave
perature of the sun, a value of physicists were investigating the light the underlying notion that light and
approximately 11,000°F (6,000°C). spectrum emitted by a blackbody. heat were not emitted in a steady
The next quandary faced by these Because the spectrometer emitted stream. Rather, energy is radiated in
early scientists was the nature of distinct lines of light, rather than discrete units, or bundles. Planck dis-
the thermal radiation emitted by broad bands, they hypothesized that covered a universal constant, “Planck’s
blackbodies. The problem was chal- minute structures were emitting the constant,” which was founded on
lenging because blackbodies did not light and began to develop an atom- physical theory and could be used to
give off heat in the way the scien- ic theory that could account for compute the observed spectrum. This
tists had predicted. The theoretical spectral lines. assumed that energy consisted of the
relationship between the spectral This was of interest to Planck sum of discrete units of energy he
radiance of a blackbody and its because in 1859 Kirchhoff had dis- called quanta, and that the energy
thermodynamic temperature was covered that the quality of heat emitted, E, by each quantum is given
not established until late in the radiated and absorbed by a black- by the equation E = hυ = hc/λ, where
nineteenth century. body at all frequencies reached an υ (sec-1) is the frequency of the radia-
Among the theories proposed to equilibrium that only depended on tion and h is Planck’s constant—now
explain this inconsistency was one by
the German physicist Wilhelm Wien
and the English physicist John
Rayleigh. Wilhelm Wien (1864-1928)
measured the wavelength distribution
of blackbody radiation in 1893. A plot
of the radiation versus the wavelength Dome
resulted in a series of curves at differ-
ent temperatures. With this plot, he
was able to show that the peak value
of wavelength varies proportionally
with the amount of energy, and
inversely with absolute temperature. Reticle Location
As the temperature increases, not and Center
of Rotation
only does the total amount of radia-
tion increase, in line with Stefan’s find-
ings, but the peak wavelength
decreases and the color of the emit-
ted light changes from red to orange Figure 1-5:The
Figure 1-5: The Sidewinder
Sidewinder Missile’
Missle's s IR Guidance
IR Guidance System System

1 A Historical Perspective

known to be a fundamental constant physics. Wrote Einstein, “He has given being used in a wide range of industri-
of nature. By thus directly relating the one of the most powerful of all al and laboratory temperature control
energy of radiation to its frequency, an impulses to the progress of science.” applications. By using non-contact
explanation was found for the obser- temperature sensors, objects that are
vation that higher energy radiation has difficult to reach due to extreme envi-
a higher frequency distribution. Today’s Applications ronmental conditions can be moni-
Planck’s finding marked a new era in The first patent for a total radiation tored. They can also be used for prod-
physics. thermometer was granted in 1901. ucts that cannot be contaminated by a
Before Planck’s studies, heat was The instrument used a thermoelec- contact sensor, such as in the glass,
considered to be a fluid composed tric sensor; it had an electrical out- chemical, pharmaceutical, and food
of repulsive particles capable of put signal and was capable of unat- industries. Non-contact sensors can be
combining chemically with material tended operation. In 1931, the first used when materials are hot, moving,
atoms. In this theory, the particles of commercially-available total radia- or inaccessible, or when materials can-
heat entered a system and moved
between the particles. A mutual
repulsion of the particles of heat cre-
ated a pressure. A thermometer Main Optics Reimaging Lens
detected this pressure. Planck’s con-
stant became known as a “fortunate Objects at
guess.” It allowed for theoretical Infinity
equations which agreed with the
observable range of spectral phe- Detector
nomena, and was fundamental in the
theory of blackbody radiation. Figure 1-6: IR Optics for Missile Guidance
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) studied
the works of Maxwell and Helmholtz. tion thermometers were introduced. not be damaged, scratched, or torn by
In 1905, Einstein used the quantum as a These devices were widely used a contact thermometer.
theoretical tool to explain the photo- throughout industry to record and Typical industries in which non-
electric effect, showing how light can control industrial processes. They are contact sensors are used include
sometimes act as a stream of particles. still used today, but mainly used for utilities, chemical processing, phar-
He published three papers in volume low temperature applications. maceutical, automotive, food pro-
XVII of Annalen der Physik. In one, he The first modern radiation ther- cessing, plastics, medical, glass, pulp
set forth his now famous theory of rel- mometers were not available until and paper, construction materials,
ativity, but another showed that a fun- after the second World War. Originally and metals. Industrially, they are
damental process in nature is at work developed for military use, lead sulfide used in manufacturing, quality con-
in the mathematical equation which photodetectors were the first infrared trol, and maintenance and have
had resolved the problem of black- quantum detectors to be widely used helped companies increase produc-
body radiation. in industrial radiation thermometry. tivity, reduce energy consumption,
Light, Einstein showed, is a stream Other types of quantum detectors and improve product quality.
of particles with a computable also have been developed for military Some applications of radiation
amount of energy using Planck’s applications and are now widely thermometry include the heat treat-
constant. Within a decade, this pre- applied in industrial radiation ther- ing, forming, tempering, and anneal-
diction confirmed experimentally mometry. Many infrared radiation ing of glass; the casting, rolling, forg-
for visible light. thermometers use thermopile detec- ing, and heat treating of metals; qual-
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck initi- tors sensitive to a broad radiation ity control in the food and pulp and
ated quantum theory at the turn of spectrum and are extensively used in paper industry; the extrusion, lamina-
the twentieth century and changed process control instrumentation. tion, and drying of plastics, paper,
the fundamental framework of Infrared thermometers currently are and rubber; and in the curing process

A Historical Perspective 1

of resins, adhesives, and paints. pulses of heat from a xenon flash signature of an emission plume or very
Non-contact temperature sensors tube. Infrared cameras record a hot exhaust engine. The Sidewinder
have been used and will continue to frame-by-frame sequence of heat missile guidance system is shown
be valuable for research in military, diffusion through the object, which schematically in Figure 1-5. A special
medical, industrial, meteorological, is displayed on screen. Defects show infrared dome protects the optical
ecological, forestry, agriculture, and up as deviations in the expected pat- system inside. The optical system con-
chemical applications. terns for the material being tested. sists of a primary and secondary mirror
Weather satellites use infrared Among the military applications of and a set of correction lenses to cause
imaging devices to map cloud pat- radiation thermometry are night-vision an image to focus onto a special reti-
terns and provide the imagery seen in and the “heat-seeking” missile. In the cle. All the light from the reticle is
many weather reports. Radiation latter case, the operator simply launch- focused onto a detector (Figure 1-6).
thermometry can reveal the temper- es the missile in the general direction The reticle can modulate the radiation
ature of the earth’s surface even of the target. On-board detectors to distinguish between clouds and
through cloud cover. enable the missile to locate the target provide directional information.
Infrared imaging devices also are by tracking the heat back to the source. Portable surface-to-air missiles,
used for thermography, or thermal The most widely known military SAMs, are effective defense units
imaging. In the practice of medicine, infrared missile applications are the that guide themselves to a target by
for example, thermography has been Sidewinder air-to-air missile and a detecting and tracking the heat emit-
used for the early detection of breast satellite-borne intercontinental ballis- ted by an aircraft, particularly the
cancer and for the location of the tic missile (ICBM) detection system. engine exhaust. T
cause of circulatory deficiencies. In Both rely on detecting the infrared
most of these applications, the
underlying principle is that patholo- References and Further Reading
gy produces local heating and • Album of Science, The 19th Century, Pearce L. Williams, Charles Scribner’s
inflammation which can be found Sons, 1978.
with an infrared imager. Other diag- • Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery, Isaac Asimov,
nostic applications of infrared ther- HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
mography range from back problems • The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press,
to sinus obstructions. 1994.
Edge burning forest fires have been • Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vols. 9, 10, 11, Charles C. Gillispile,
located using airborne infrared Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973.
imagers. Typically, the longer wave- • Engineering in History, Richard S. Kirby and Sidney Withington, Arthur B.
lengths of the emitted infrared radia- Darling, Frederick G. Kilgour, McGraw-Hill, 1956.
tion penetrate the smoke better than • The Invisible World of the Infrared, Jack R. White, Dodd, Mead &
the visible wavelengths, so the edges Company, 1984.
of the fire are better delineated. • The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 8th ed., Vol. 9,
On the research front, one sophis- McGraw-Hill, 1997.
ticated infrared thermometry appli- • Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Emily J. McMurray, Gale Research
cation is in the study of faults in met- Inc., 1995.
als, composites, and at coating inter- • Pioneers of Modern Science, The World of Science, Bill MacKeith,
faces. This technique is known as Andromeda Oxford Limited, 1991.
pulsed video thermography. A com- • The Scientific 100. A Ranking of the Most Influential Scientists, Past and
posite material consisting of a car- Present, John Simmons, Carol Publishing Group, 1996.
bon-fiber skin bonded to an alu- • Theory and Practice of Radiation Thermometry, David P. DeWitt., and
minum honeycomb is subjected to



Theoretical Development
Radiation Basics
Blackbody Concepts

Theoretical Development From Blackbodies to Real Surfaces

ll matter—animate or inani- length of the radiation. The total continuous, non-uniform distribution

A mate, liquid, solid, or gas—

constantly exchanges ther-
mal energy in the form of
electromagnetic radiation with its
surroundings. If there is a tempera-
energy of a quantum, E, is found by
multiplying Planck’s constant, h =
6.6256 x 10-34, and, the radiation fre-
quency, υ, in cycles per second.
In 1905, Albert Einstein postulat-
of monochromatic (single-wave-
length) components, varying widely
with wavelength and direction. The
amount of radiation per unit wave-
length interval, referred to as the
ture difference between the object ed that these quanta are particles spectral concentration, also varies
in question and its surroundings, moving at the speed of light, c = with wavelength. And the magnitude
there will be a net energy transfer in 2.9979 x 108 m/s. If these photons of radiation at any wavelength as
the form of heat; a colder object will traveled at the speed of light, then well as the spectral distribution vary
be warmed at the expense of its sur- they must obey the theory of rela- with the properties and temperature
roundings, a warmer object cooled. tivity, stating E2 = c2p2 , and each of the emitting surface. Radiation is
And if the object in question is at the photon must have the momentum p also directional. A surface may prefer
same temperature as its surrounding, = E/c = h/λ. The frequency can be a particular direction to radiate ener-
the net radiation energy exchange found by dividing the speed of light gy. Both spectral and directional dis-
will be zero. by its particle wavelength υ = c/λ. tribution must be considered in
In either case, the characteristic Substituting for momentum: studying radiation.
spectrum of the radiation depends Wavelength can be thought of as a
on the object and its surroundings’ E = hυ = hc/λ type of address to find where a ray’s
absolute temperatures. The topic of energy is located. The map contain-
this volume, radiation thermometry, From this equation, it is apparent ing all the wavelengths of electro-
or more generally, non-contact tem- that the amount of energy emitted magnetic radiation is called the elec-
perature measurement, involves tak- depends on the wavelength (or fre- tromagnetic spectrum (see the inside
ing advantage of this radiation quency). The shorter the wave- front cover of this volume). The short
dependence on temperature to length, the higher the energy. wavelengths are the gamma rays,
measure the temperature of objects Emitted radiation consists of a X-rays, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation,
and masses without the need for
direct contact.

Radiation Basics Reflected
The development of the mathemat- Energy
ical relationships to describe radia-
tion were a major step in the devel-
opment of modern radiation ther-
mometry theory. The ability to
quantify radiant energy comes,
appropriately enough, from Planck’s Radiant Transmitted
Energy Energy
quantum theory. Planck assumed
that radiation was formed in dis-
crete energy packages called pho- Energy
tons, or quanta, the magnitude of
which are dependent on the wave- Figure 2-1: Radiation Energy Balance

Theoretical Development 2

containing the highest amount of surement. The divisions have been is the concept of the blackbody. In
energy emitted. The intermediate related to the transmission of the 1860, Kirchhoff defined a blackbody
portion of the spectrum, the heat atmosphere for different types of as a surface that neither reflects or
region, extends from approximately applications. transmits, but absorbs all incident
0.1 to 1000 µm (micrometers or radiation, independent of direction
microns: 1,000,000 microns = 1 meter), and wavelength. The fraction of radi-
and includes a portion of the ultravio- Blackbody Concepts ation absorbed by a real body is
let and all of the visible (VIS) and Incident energy striking an object called absorptivity, α. For an ideal
infrared (IR) waves. This portion is from the surroundings, can be blackbody, the absorptivity is 1.0 (αb
termed thermal radiation, and is absorbed by the object, reflected by = 1). For non-blackbodies, the absorp-
important in the study of heat trans- the object, or transmitted through tion is a fraction of the radiation heat
fer and radiation thermometry. the object (if it is not opaque) as transfer incident on a surface, or 0 ≤
Non-contact temperature sensors seen in Figure 2-1. If the object is at α ≤ 1. Hence, in term of radiation heat
work in the infrared portion of the a constant temperature, then the transfer, q”:
spectrum. The infrared range falls rate at which it emits energy must
between 0.78 microns and 1000 equal the rate at which it absorbs q”absorbed = αq”incident
microns in wavelength, and is invisi- energy, otherwise the object would
ble to the naked eye. The infrared is cool (emittance greater than In addition to absorbing all inci-
region can be divided into three absorption), or warm (emittance dent radiation, a blackbody is a per-
regions: near-infrared (0.78-3.0 less than absorption). Therefore, fect radiating body. To describe the
microns); middle infrared (3-30 for bodies at constant temperature, emitting capabilities of a surface in
microns); and far infrared (30-300 the emittance (absorption), the comparison to a blackbody,
microns). The range between 0.7 reflection and the transmittance of Kirchoff defined emissivity (ε) of a
microns and 14 microns is normally energy equals unity. real surface as the ratio of the ther-
used in infrared temperature mea- Central to radiation thermometry mal radiation emitted by a surface
at a given temperature to that of a
blackbody at the same temperature
and for the same spectral and
directional conditions.
This value also must be considered
ε=1.0 (Blackbody) by a non-contact temperature sensor
when taking a temperature measure-
ε=0.9 (Graybody) ment. The total emissivity for a real
surface is the ratio of the total amount
Relative Energy

ε varies with of radiation emitted by a surface in

comparison to a blackbody at the
same temperature. The tables begin-
(Non-graybody) ning on p. 72 give representative emis-
sivity values for a wide range of mate-
rials. If precise temperature measure-
ments are required, however, the sur-
face’s actual emittivity value should be
obtained. (Although often used inter-
changeably, the terms emissivity and
emittivity have technically different
meanings. Emissivity refers to a prop-
Wavelength, Microns erty of a material, such as cast iron,
Figure 2-2: Spectral Distributions whereas emittivity refers to a property

2 Theoretical Development

of a specific surface.) blackbody. If it is not corrected for, equal the rate at which it is emitted.
In 1879, Stefan concluded based the temperature will be lower than In many industrial applications,
on experimental results that the the actual temperature. For objects transmission of radiation, such as
radiation emitted from the surface with an emissivity less than 0.9, the through a layer of water or a glass
of an object was proportional to heat transfer rate of a real surface is plate, must be considered. For a spec-
the fourth power of the absolute identified as: tral component of the irradiation,
temperature of the surface. The portions may be reflected, absorbed,
underlying theory was later devel- q” = εσTs4 and transmitted. It follows that:
oped by Boltzmann, who showed
that the radiation given off by a The closest approximation to a Gλ = Gλ,ref + Gλ,abs + Gλ,tran
blackbody at absolute temperature blackbody is a cavity with an interi-
Ts (K) is equal to: or surface at a uniform temperature In many engineering applications,
Ts, which communicates with the however, the medium is opaque to
q” = σTs4 surroundings by a small hole having the incident radiation. Therefore,
a diameter small in comparison to Gλ,tran = 0, and the remaining absorp-
where ( is the Stefan-Boltzmann con- the dimensions of the cavity (Figure tion and reflection can be treated as
stant (σ = 5.67 x 10-8 W/m2 • K4 ). The 2-3). Most of the radiation entering surface phenomenon. In other
heat transfer rate by radiation for a the opening is either absorbed or words, they are controlled by
non-blackbody, per unit area is reflected within the cavity (to ulti- processes occurring within a frac-
defined as: mately be absorbed), while negligi- tion of a micrometer from the irra-
ble radiation exits the aperture. The diated surface. It is therefore appro-
q” = ασ(Ts4 - Tsur4) body approximates a perfect priate to say that the irradiation is
absorber, independent of the cavi- absorbed and reflected by the sur-
where Ts is the surface temperature ty’s surface properties. face, with the relative magnitudes
and Tsur is the temperature of the The radiation trapped within the of Gλ,ref and Gλ,abs depending on the
surroundings. interior of the cavity is absorbed and wavelength and the nature of the
Although some surfaces come reflected so that the radiation within surface.
close to blackbody performance, all the cavity is equally distributed— Radiation transfer by a non-black-
real objects and surfaces have emis- some radiation is absorbed and some body encompasses a wide range of
sivities less than 1. Non-blackbody reflected. The incident radiant ener- wavelengths and directions. The
objects are either graybodies, whose gy falling per unit time on any sur- spectral hemispherical emissive
emissivity does vary with wave- face per unit area within the cavity is power, Eλ (W/m2 • µm) is defined as
length, or non-graybodies, whose defined as the irradiance Gλ (W/m2 • the rate at which radiation is emit-
emissivities vary with wavelength. µm). If the total irradiation G (W/m2) ted per unit area at all possible
Most organic objects are graybodies, represents the rate at which radiation wavelengths and in all possible
with an emissivity between 0.90 and is incident per unit area from all directions from a surface, per unit
0.95 (Figure 2-2). directions and at all wavelengths, it wavelength dλ about λ and per unit
The blackbody concept is impor- follows that: surface area.
tant because it shows that radiant Although the directional distribu-
power depends on temperature. G = ∫0→∞Gλ (dλ) tion of surface emission varies
When using non-contact tempera- depends on the surface itself, many
ture sensors to measure the energy If another blackbody is brought into surfaces approximate diffuse emit-
emitted from an object, depending the cavity with an identical tempera- ters. That is, the intensity of emitted
on the nature of the surface, the ture as the interior walls of the cavi- radiation is independent of the
emissivity must be taken into ty, the blackbody will maintain its direction in which the energy is inci-
account and corrected. For example, current temperature. Therefore, the dent or emitted. In this case, the
an object with an emissivity of 0.6 is rate at which the energy absorbed by total, hemispherical (spectral) emis-
only radiating 60% of the energy of a the inner surface of the cavity will sive power, Eλ (W/m2) is defined as:

Theoretical Development 2

high temperatures emit energy in the

Eλ(λ) = πΙλ,e(λ) Eλ,b(λ,T) = 2h2/λ5 [exp(hco/λkT) - 1] visible spectrum as wavelength
decreases. Figure 2-4 also shows that
or It is from this equation that Planck there is more energy difference per
postulated his quantum theory. A degree at shorter wavelengths.
E = πΙe more convenient expression for this From Figure 2-4, the blackbody
equation, referred to as the Planck spectral distribution has a maximum
where Ιe is the total intensity of the distribution law (Figure 2-4), is: wavelength value, λmax, which
emitted radiation, or the rate at which depends on the temperature. By dif-
radiant energy is emitted at a specific Eλ,b(λ,T) = πIλ,b(λ,T)= ferentiating equation 2.12 with
wavelength, per unit area of the emit- C1/λ5[exp(C2/λT) - 1] respect to λ and setting the result
ting surface normal to the direction, equal to zero:
per unit solid angle about this direc- where the first and second radiation
tion, and per unit wavelength. Notice constants are C1 = 2πhco2 = 3.742 x 108 λmaxT = C3
that Eλ is a flux based on the actual W • µm4/m2 and C2 = (hco/k) = 1.439
surface area, where Ιλe is based on the x 104 µm • K. where the third radiation constant,
projected area. In approximating a Planck’s distribution shows that as C3 = 2897.7 µm • K. This is known as
blackbody, the radiation is almost wavelength varies, emitted radiation Wien’s displacement law. The
entirely absorbed by the cavity. Any varies continuously. As temperature dashed line in Figure 2-4 defines this
radiation that exits the cavity is due to increases, the total amount of energy equation and locates the maximum
the surface temperature only. emitted increases and the peak of radiation values for each tempera-
The spectral characteristics of the curve shifts to the left, or toward ture, at a specific wavelength.
blackbody radiation as a function of the shorter wavelengths. In consider- Notice that maximum radiance is
temperature and wavelength were ing the electromagnetic spectrum, it associated with higher temperatures
determined by Wilhelm Wien in is apparent that bodies with very and lower wavelengths.
1896. Wien derived his law for the
distribution of energy in the emission
spectrum as:
Ι λ, ι
Eλ,b(λ,T) = 2h2/λ5 [exp(hco/λkT)]

where Eλ,b (b for blackbody) represents

the intensity of radiation emitted by a
blackbody at temperature T, and wave-
length λ per unit wavelength interval,
per unit time, per unit solid angle, per
unit area. Also, h = 6.626 x 10-24 J•s and
k = 1.3807 x 10-23 J•K-1 are the universal
Planck and Boltzman constants,
respectively; co = 2.9979 x 108 m/s is
the speed of light in a vacuum, and T is
the absolute temperature of the black-
body in Kelvins (K).
Due to the fact that deviations
appeared between experimental
results and the equation, Planck sug-
gested in 1900 a refinement that
better fit reality: Figure 2-3: An Isothermal Blackbody Cavity

2 Theoretical Development


Visible Spectral Region
λmaxT=2898 µm . K
Spectral Emissive Power, Eλ,b, W/m . µm

Solar Radiation

5800 K 2000 K
2 1000 K 800 K


300 K

100 K
50 K


0.1 0.2 0.4 0.6 1.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 10 20 40 60 100
Wavelength, λ, µm
Figure 2-4: Planck Prediction of Blackbody Emissive Power

From Blackbodies to Real Surfaces The properties of the material at tivity for a real surface αλ(λ)is
At first it would seem that a radiation various temperatures must also be defined as:
thermometer would utilize the entire considered. Because no material
spectrum, capturing most of the radi- emits as efficiently as a blackbody at αλ(λ) ≅ Gλ,abs(λ)/Gλ(λ)
ant emission of a target in its particu- a given temperature, when measuring
lar temperature range. There are sev- the temperature of a real target, where Gλ,abs is the portion of irradia-
eral reasons why this is not practical. other considerations must be made. tion absorbed by the surface. Hence,
In the equations for infrared radia- Changes in process material emissivi- αλ depends on the directional distri-
tion derived above, it was found that ty, radiation from other sources, and bution of the incident radiation, as
at very low wavelengths, the radiance losses in radiation due to dirt, dust, well as on the wavelength of the
increases rapidly with temperature, in smoke, or atmospheric absorption radiation and the nature of the
comparison to the increase at higher can introduce errors. absorbing surface. The total, hemi-
wavelengths, as shown in Figure 2-4. The absorptivity of a material is spherical absorptivity, α, represents
Therefore, the rate of radiance change the fraction of the irradiation an integrated average over both
is always greater at shorter wave- absorbed by a surface. Like emission, directional and wavelength. It is
lengths. This could mean more precise it can be characterized by both a defined as the fraction of the total
temperature measurement and tighter directional and spectral distribution. irradiation absorbed by a surface, or:
temperature control. However, at a It is implicit that surfaces may exhib-
given short wavelength there is a it selective absorption with respect α ≅ Gabs/G
lower limit to the temperature that to wavelength and direction of the
can be measured. As the process tem- incident radiation. However, for most The value of α depends on the
perature decreases, the spectral range engineering applications, it is desir- spectral distribution of the incident
for an infrared thermometer shifts to able to work with surface properties radiation, as well as on its direc-
longer wavelengths and becomes less that represent directional averages. tional distribution and the nature
accurate. The spectral, hemispherical absorp- of the absorbing surface. Although

Theoretical Development 2

α is independent on the tempera- If the intensity of the reflected

ture of the surface, the same may radiation is independent of the τ = Gtr/G
not be said for the total, hemi- direction of the incident radiation
spherical emissivity. Emissivity is and the direction of the reflected The sum of the total fractions of
strongly temperature dependent. radiation, the surface is said to be energy absorbed (α), reflected (ρ),
The reflectivity of a surface diffuse emitter. In contrast, if the and transmitted (τ) must equal the
defines the fraction of incident incident angle is equivalent to the total amount of radiation incident
radiation reflected by a surface. Its reflected angle, the surface is a on the surface. Therefore, for any
specific definition may take several specular reflector. Although no sur- wavelength:
different forms. We will assume a face is perfectly diffuse or specular,
reflectivity that represents an inte- specular behavior can be approxi- ρλ + τλ + αλ = 1
grated average over the hemisphere mated by polished or mirror-like
associated with the reflected radia- surfaces. Diffuse behavior is closely This equation applies to a semitrans-
tion to avoid the problems from approximated by rough surfaces parent medium. For properties that
the directional distribution of this and is likely to be encountered in are averaged over the entire spec-
radiation. The spectral, hemispheri- industrial applications. trum, it follows that:
cal reflectivity ρλ(λ), then, is Transmissivity is the amount of
defined as the spectral irradiation radiation transmitted through a sur- ρ+τ+α=1
that is reflected by the surface. face. Again, assume a transmissivity
Therefore: that represents an integrated aver- For a medium that is opaque, the
age. Although difficult to obtain a value of transmission is equal to zero.
ρλ(λ) ≅ Gλ,ref(λ)/Gλ(λ) result for transparent media, hemi- Absorption and reflection are sur-
spherical transmissivity is defined as: face properties for which:
where Gλ,ref is the portion of irradia-
tion reflected by the surface. The τλ = Gλ,tr(λ)/Gλ(λ) ρλ + αλ = 1
total, hemispherical reflectivity ρ is
then defined as: where Gλ,tr is the portion of irradia- and
tion reflected by the surface. The
ρ ≅ Gref/G total hemispherical transmissivity is: ρ+α=1

3.43 Microns 4.8 to 5.3 Microns 7.9 Microns

0.009 In. Thick
Spectral Transmittance, τλ

0.8 0.027 In. Thick

0.061 In. Thick

0.124 In. Thick

0.231 In. Thick

2.5 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wavelength, λ, µm
Figure 2-5: Soda-Lime Glass Spectral Transmittance

22 Volume 1
2 Theoretical Development

For a blackbody, the transmitted and References and Further Reading

reflected fractions are zero and the • Temperature Measurement in Engineering, H. Dean Baker, E.A. Ryder, and
emissivity is unity. N.H. Baker, Omega Press, 1975.
An example of a material whose • Heat and Thermodynamics, 6th ed., Mark W. Zemansky, and Richard H.
emissivity characteristics change rad- Dittman, McGraw-Hill, 1981.
ically with wavelength is glass. Soda- • Industrial Temperature Measurement, Thomas W. Kerlin and Robert L.
lime glass is an example of a material Shepard, Publishers Creative Series, Inc., ISA.
which drastically changes its emissiv- • Introduction to Heat Transfer, 2nd ed., Frank P. Incropera, and David P.
ity characteristics with wavelength DeWitt, John Wiley & Sons, 1990.
(Figure 2-5). At wavelengths below • The Invisible World of the Infrared, Dodd, Jack R. White, Mead &
about 2.6 microns, the glass is highly Company, 1984.
transparent and the emissivity is • Process/Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook, 4th ed., Douglas
nearly zero. Beyond 2.6 microns, the M. Considine, McGraw-Hill, 1993.
glass becomes increasingly more • Theory and Practice of Radiation Thermometry, David P. DeWitt and
opaque. Beyond 4 microns, the glass Gene D. Nutter, John Wiley & Sons, 1988.
is completely opaque and the emis- • Thermodynamics, 5th ed., Virgil M. Faires, The Macmillan Company, 1971.
sivity is above 0.97. T



IR Thermometers & Pyrometers
The N Factor
Types of Radiation Thermometers
Design & Engineering
IR Thermometers & Pyrometers
yrometer is derived from the important variable in converting the routine maintenance to keep the

P Greek root pyro, meaning fire.

The term pyrometer was orig-
inally used to denote a device
capable of measuring temperatures
of objects above incandescence,
detector output into an accurate
temperature signal.
Infrared radiation thermometers/
pyrometers, by specifically measur-
ing the energy being radiated from
sighting path clear, and to keep the
optical elements clean. Radiation ther-
mometers used for more difficult
applications may have more compli-
cated optics, possibly rotating or mov-
objects bright to the human eye. The an object in the 0.7 to 20 micron ing parts, and microprocessor-based
original pyrometers were non-con- wavelength range, are a subset of electronics. There are no industry
tacting optical devices which inter- radiation thermometers. These accepted calibration curves for radia-
cepted and evaluated the visible devices can measure this radiation tion thermometers, as there are for
radiation emitted by glowing objects. from a distance. There is no need thermocouples and RTDs. In addition,
A modern and more correct defini- for direct contact between the radi- the user may need to seriously investi-
tion would be any non-contacting ation thermometer and the object, gate the application, to select the
device intercepting and measuring as there is with thermocouples and optimum technology, method of
thermal radiation emitted from an resistance temperature detectors installation, and compensation need-
object to determine surface temper- (RTDs). Radiation thermometers are ed for the measured signal, to achieve
ature. Thermometer, also from a suited especially to the measure- the performance desired.
Greek root thermos, signifying hot, is ment of moving objects or any sur-
used to describe a wide assortment faces that can not be reached or can
of devices used to measure tempera- not be touched. Emittance, Emissivity, and the N Factor
ture. Thus a pyrometer is a type of But the benefits of radiation ther- In an earlier chapter, emittance was
thermometer. The designation radia- mometry have a price. Even the sim- identified as a critical parameter in
tion thermometer has evolved over plest of devices is more expensive accurately converting the output of
the past decade as an alternative to than a standard thermocouple or resis- the detector used in a radiation ther-
pyrometer. Therefore the terms tance temperature detector (RTD) mometer into a value representing
pyrometer and radiation thermome- assembly, and installation cost can object temperature.
ter are used interchangeably by many exceed that of a standard thermowell. The terms emittance and emissiv-
references. The devices are rugged, but do require ity are often used interchangeably.
A radiation thermometer, in very
simple terms, consists of an optical
system and detector. The optical sys-
Lens Temperature Filter Detector Power
tem focuses the energy emitted by Controlled Cavity Supply
an object onto the detector, which is
sensitive to the radiation. The output
of the detector is proportional to
the amount of energy radiated by the To
target object (less the amount Recorder
absorbed by the optical system), and
the response of the detector to the
specific radiation wavelengths. This
output can be used to infer the
Optical Sync. Motor Preamplifier Filter Rectifier Readout Meter
objects temperature. The emittivity, Chopper
or emittance, of the object is an Traditional Infrared Thermometer
Figure 3-1:

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

There is, however, a technical dis- that effects the output V. A dirty readings is due to the emissivity,
tinction. Emissivity refers to the optical system, or absorption of which is, of course, less than one. For
properties of a material; emittance energy by gases in the sighting path, temperatures up to 500°F (260°C)
to the properties of a particular has less effect on an indicated tem- emissivity values can be determined
object. In this latter sense, emissivi- perature if N has a high value. experimentally by putting a piece of
ty is only one component in deter- The values for the emissivities of black masking tape on the target sur-
mining emittance. Other factors,
including shape of the object, oxi-
dation and surface finish must be 800
taken into account. 3
700 0.
The apparent emittance of a
material also depends on the tem-
perature at which it is determined, 500 .5
Error - °F

and the wavelength at which the 400

measurement is taken. Surface condi-
300 E=0.7
tion affects the value of an object’s
emittance, with lower values for 200
polished surfaces, and higher values 100 E=0.9
for rough or matte surfaces. In addi-
tion, as materials oxidize, emittance 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 5000
tends to increase, and the surface True Temperature, °F
condition dependence decreases. Figure 3-2: Effect of Non-Blackbody Emissivity on IR Thermometer Error
Representative emissivity values for a
range of common metals and non- almost all substances are known and face. Using a radiation pyrometer set
metals at various temperatures are published in reference literature. for an emissivity of 0.95, measure the
given in the tables starting on p. 72. However, the emissivity determined temperature of the tape surface
The basic equation used to under laboratory conditions seldom (allowing time for it to gain thermal
describe the output of a radiation agrees with actual emittance of an equilibrium). Then measure the tem-
thermometer is: object under real operating condi- perature of the target surface with-
tions. For this reason, one is likely to out the tape. The difference in read-
V (T) = ε K TN use published emissivity data when ings determines the actual value for
the values are high. As a rule of thumb, the target emissivity.
Where: most opaque non-metallic materials Many instruments now have cali-
ε = emittivity have a high and stable emissivity (0.85 brated emissivity adjustments. The
V(T) = thermometer output with to 0.90). Most unoxidized, metallic adjustment may be set to a value of
temperature materials have a low to medium emis- emissivity determined from tables,
K = constant sivity value (0.2 to 0.5). Gold, silver such as those starting on p. 72, or
T = object temperature and aluminum are exceptions, with experimentally, as described in the
N = N factor ( = 14388/(λT)) emissivity values in the 0.02 to 0.04 preceding paragraph. For highest
λ = equivalent wavelength range. The temperature of these met- accuracy, independent determina-
als is very difficult to measure with a tion of emissivity in a lab at the
A radiation thermometer with the radiation thermometer. wavelength at which the thermome-
highest value of N (shortest possible One way to determine emissivity ter measures, and possibly at the
equivalent wavelength) should be experimentally is by comparing the expected temperature of the target,
selected to obtain the least depen- radiation thermometer measurement may be necessary.
dence on target emittance changes. of a target with the simultaneous Emissivity values in tables have
The benefits of a device with a high measurement obtained using a ther- been determined by a pyrometer
value of N extends to any parameter mocouple or RTD. The difference in sighted perpendicular to the target.

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 3

If the actual sighting angle is more because the signal gain is high in this detector to convert this energy to an
than 30 or 40 degrees from the nor- region. The higher response output electrical signal; an emittivity adjust-
mal to the target, lab measurement at short wavelengths tends to ment to match the thermometer cal-
of emissivity may be required. swamp the effects of emittance vari- ibration to the specific emitting
In addition, if the radiation pyrom- ations. The high gain of the radiated characteristics of the target, and an
eter sights through a window, emissiv- energy also tends to swamp the ambient temperature compensation
ity correction must be provided for absorption effects of steam, dust or circuit, to ensure that temperature
energy lost by reflection from the two water vapor in the sight path to the variations inside the thermometer
surfaces of the window, as well as target. For example, setting the due to ambient conditions did not
absorption in the window. For exam- wavelength at such a band will cause affect accuracy.
ple, about 4% of radiation is reflected the sensor to read within ±5 to ±10 The modern radiation thermome-
from glass surfaces in the infrared degrees of absolute temperature ter is still based on this concept.
ranges, so the effective transmittance when the material has an emissivity However the technology has
is 0.92. The loss through other materi- of 0.9 (±0.05). This represents about become more sophisticated to
als can be determined from the index 1% to 2% accuracy. widen the scope of the applications
of refraction of the material at the that can be handled. For example,
wavelength of measurement. the number of available detectors
The uncertainties concerning Types of Radiation Thermometers has greatly increased, and, thanks to
emittance can be reduced using Historically, as shown in Figure 3-1, a selective filtering capabilities, these
short wavelength or ratio radiation radiation thermometer consisted of detectors can more efficiently be
thermometers. Short wavelengths, an optical system to collect the matched to specific applications,
around 0.7 microns, are useful energy emitted by the target; a improving measurement perfor-
mance. Microprocessor-based elec-
tronics can use complex algorithms
to provide real time linearization and
1200F compensation of the detector out-
put for higher precision of measured
800F target temperature. Microprocessors
can display instantaneous measure-

ments of several variables (such as

600F current temperature, minimum tem-
perature measured, maximum tem-
400F perature measured, average tempera-
ture or temperature differences) on
200F integral LCD display screens.
A convenient classification of radi-
5µm 10µm
ation thermometers is as follows:

Wavelength • Broadband radiation ther-
• Narrow band radiation ther-
Ultra Visible Infrared Radio mometers/pyrometers;
violet Light Waves • Ratio radiation thermometers/

• Optical pyrometers; and


• Fiber optic radiation ther-
1nm .77µ 1mm 1m 1km mometers/pyrometers.
These classifications are not rigid.
Figure 3-3: Blackbody Radiation in the Infrared For example, optical pyrometers can

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

be considered a subset of narrow (500 to 900°C). Typical accuracy is Narrow band thermometers use
band devices. Fiber optic radiation 0.5 to 1% full scale. filters to restrict response to a
thermometers, to be discussed in selected wavelength. Probably the
detail in another section, can be most important advance in radiation
classified as wide band, narrow • Narrow Band Radiation thermometry has been the introduc-
band, or ratio devices. Likewise, As the name indicates, narrow band tion of selective filtering of the
infrared radiation thermometers can radiation thermometers operate over incoming radiation, which allows an
be considered subsets of several of a narrow range of wavelengths. instrument to be matched to a par-
these classes. Narrow band devices can also be ticular application to achieve higher
referred to as single color ther- measurement accuracy. This was

• Broadband Radiation
Broadband radiation thermometers λ1 λ2
typically are the simplest devices,
Ratio H1/H2 changes
cost the least, and can have a
as a function of
response from 0.3 microns wave- 5
temperature (T1...T5)
length to an upper limit of 2.5 to 20
microns. The low and high cut-offs
of the broadband thermometer are a 4
Relative Energy Radiated, H

function of the specific optical sys-

tem being used. They are termed T5
broadband because they measure a 3
significant fraction of the thermal
radiation emitted by the object, in the
temperature ranges of normal use.
Broadband thermometers are
dependent on the total emittance of
1 T2
the surface being measured. Figure 3-
2 shows the error in reading for vari-
ous emissivities and temperatures
when a broadband device is calibrat- .4 .8 1.2 1.6 Microns
ed for a blackbody. An emissivity Wavelength, λ
control allows the user to compen- Figure 3-4: The 'Two-Color' IR Thermometer
sate for these errors, so long as the
emittance does not change. mometers/pyrometers (see Optical made possible by the availability of
The path to the target must be Pyrometers). The specific detector more sensitive detectors and
unobstructed. Water vapor, dust, used determines the spectral advances in signal amplifiers.
smoke, steam and radiation absorp- response of the particular device. Common examples of selective
tive gases present in the atmosphere For example, a thermometer using a spectral responses are 8 to 14
can attenuate emitted radiation from silicon cell detector will have a microns, which avoids interference
the target and cause the thermome- response that peaks at approximate- from atmospheric moisture over long
ter to read low. ly 0.9 microns, with the upper limit paths; 7.9 microns, used for the mea-
The optical system must be kept of usefulness being about 1.1 surement of some thin film plastics; 5
clean, and the sighting window pro- microns. Such a device is useful for microns, used for the measurement
tected against any corrosives in the measuring temperatures above of glass surfaces; and 3.86 microns,
environment. 1102°F (600°C). Narrow band ther- which avoids interference from car-
Standard ranges include 32 to mometers routinely have a spectral bon dioxide and water vapor in
1832°F (0 to 1000°C), and 932 to 1652°F response of less than 1 micron. flames and combustion gases.

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 3

The choice of shorter or longer to 1000°C), 1112 to 5432°F (600 to term to include wavelengths in the
wavelength response is also dictated 3000°C) and 932 to 3632°F (500 to infrared. The temperature measure-
by the temperature range. The peaks 2000°C). Typical accuracy is 0.25% to ment is dependent only on the ratio
of radiation intensity curves move 2% of full scale. of the two energies measured, and
not their absolute values as shown in
Figure 3-4. Any parameter, such as
target size, which affects the amount
Ratio Output of energy in each band by an equal
percentage, has no effect on the
temperature indication. This makes a
λ1 ratio thermometer inherently more
accurate. (However, some accuracy
is lost when you’re measuring small
λ2 Beam Colimator differences in large signals). The ratio
Splitter technique may eliminate, or reduce,
errors in temperature measurement
Figure 3-5: Beam-Splitting in the Ratio IR Thermometer caused by changes in emissivity, sur-
face finish, and energy absorbing
towards shorter wavelengths as tem- materials, such as water vapor,
perature increases, as shown in Figure between the thermometer and the
3-3. Applications that don’t involve • Ratio Radiation target. These dynamic changes must
such considerations may still bene- Also called two-color radiation ther- be seen identically by the detector at
fit from a narrow spectral response mometers, these devices measure the two wavelengths being used.
around 0.7 microns. While emissivi- the radiated energy of an object Emissivity of all materials does
ty doesn’t vary as much as you between two narrow wavelength not change equally at different
decrease the wavelength, the ther- bands, and calculates the ratio of the wavelengths. Materials for which
mometer will lose sensitivity two energies, which is a function of emissivity does change equally at
because of the reduced energy the temperature of the object. different wavelengths are called
available. Originally, these were called two gray bodies. Materials for which this
Narrow band thermometers with color pyrometers, because the two is not true are called non-gray bod-
short wavelengths are used to measure wavelengths corresponded to differ- ies. In addition, not all forms of
high temperatures, greater than 932°F ent colors in the visible spectrum sight path obstruction attenuate the
(500°C), because radiation energy con- (for example, red and green). Many ratio wavelengths equally. For exam-
tent increases as wavelengths get people still use the term two-color ple, if there are particles in the sight
shorter. Long wavelengths are used for pyrometers today, broadening the path that have the same size as one
low temperatures -50°F (-45.5°C).
Narrow band thermometers range Temperature
from simple hand-held devices, to Controlled Viewing Microscope
sophisticated portables with simul-
taneous viewing of target and tem- Eye
perature, memory and printout capa-
Aperture Stop Second
bility, to on-line, fixed mounted sen-
Field Stop Sensor
sors with remote electronics having Lens
PID control.
Standard temperature ranges vary Target Mirror And Lens
from one manufacturer to the next, First Field Stop
Objective Lens Rotating
but some examples include: -36 to Filter Wheel
1112°F (-37.78 to 600°C), 32 to 1832°F (0 Figure 3-6: Ratio Pyrometry Via a Filter Wheel

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

critical, or if the target object is under-

Responsive Elements going a physical or chemical change.
Infrared Window Ratio thermometers cover wide
Aperture temperature ranges. Typical commer-
cially available ranges are 1652 to

Radiation 5432° F (900 to 3000°C) and 120 to
6692°F (50 to 3700°C). Typical accura-
Beam Splitter
cy is 0.5% of reading on narrow
spans, to 2% of full scale.

Figure 3-7: Schematic of a Multispectral IR Thermometer • Optical Pyrometers

Optical pyrometers measure the
of the wavelengths, the ratio can tral dispersion of the incident radia- radiation from the target in a narrow
become unbalanced. tion. This uncooled thermometer band of wavelengths of the thermal
Phenomena which are non- was developed for gas analysis. spectrum. The oldest devices use the
dynamic in nature, such as the non- Another experimental system, using principle of optical brightness in the
gray bodiness of materials, can be seven different wavelengths demon- visible red spectrum around 0.65
dealt with by biasing the ratio of the strated a resolution of ±1°C measur- microns. These instruments are also
wavelengths accordingly. This adjust- ing a blackbody source in the range called single color pyrometers.
ment is called slope. The appropriate from 600 to 900°C. The same system Optical pyrometers are now avail-
slope setting must be determined demonstrated a resolution of ±4° C able for measuring energy wave-
experimentally. measuring an object with varying lengths that extend into the infrared
Figure 3-5 shows a schematic dia- emittance over the temperature region. The term single color pyrom-
gram of a simple ratio radiation ther- range from 500 to 950°C. eters has been broadened by some
mometer. Figure 3-6 shows a ratio Two color or multi-wavelength authors to include narrow band radi-
thermometer where the wavelengths thermometers should be seriously ation thermometers as well.
are alternately selected by a rotating considered for applications where Some optical designs are manual-
filter wheel. accuracy, and not just repeatability, is ly operated as shown in Figure 3-8.
Some ratio thermometers use
more than two wavelengths. A multi-
wavelength device is schematically
represented in Figure 3-7. These
devices employ a detailed analysis of
the target’s surface characteristics
regarding emissivity with regard to
wavelength, temperature, and sur-
face chemistry. With such data, a
computer can use complex algo-
rithms to relate and compensate for
emissivity changes at various condi-
tions. The system described in Figure
3-7 makes parallel measurement pos-
sible in four spectral channels in the
range from 1 to 25 microns. The
detector in this device consists of an
optical system with a beam splitter,
and interference filters for the spec- Typical configuration of an industrial infrared temperature probe.

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 3

es the calibrate lamp on to the

detector. The instrument may have a
Red Filter Lens wide or narrow field of view. All the
components can be packaged into a
gun-shaped, hand-held instrument.
Activating the trigger energizes the
Slide Wire Target reference standard and read-out
Tungsten Lamp indicator.
Optical pyrometers have typical
Battery accuracy in the 1% to 2% of full
Ammeter Is Calibrated scale range.
In Units Of Temperature

Red Filter Standard Lamp Lens

• Fiber Optic Radiation
Although not strictly a class unto
themselves, these devices use a light
guide, such as a flexible transparent
Sliding Target
Constant Gate fiber, to direct radiation to the
Flow detector, and are covered in more
Battery Sliding Gate
Opening Is detail in the chapter beginning on p.
Calibrated in Unit 43. The spectral response of these
Of Temperature
fibers extends to about 2 microns,
Figure 3-8: Optical Pyrometry By Visual Comparison and can be useful in measuring
object temperatures to as low as
The operator sights the pyrometer human eye. This device operates by 210°F (100°C). Obviously, these
on target. At the same time he/she comparing the amount of radiation devices are particularly useful when
can see the image of an internal emitted by the target with that it is difficult or impossible to obtain
lamp filament in the eyepiece. In emitted by an internally controlled a clear sighting path to the target, as
one design, the operator adjusts the reference source. The instrument in a pressure chamber.
power to the filament, changing its output is proportional to the differ-
color, until it matches the color of ence in radiation between the target
the target. The temperature of the and the reference. A chopper, driven Design and Construction
target is measured based upon by a motor, is used to alternately The manufacturer of the radiation
power being used by the internal fil- expose the detector to incoming thermometer selects the detector
ament. Another design maintains a radiation and reference radiation. In and optical elements to yield the
constant current to the filament some models, the human eye is used optimum compromise based upon
and changes the brightness of the to adjust the focus. Figure 3-9 is a the conflicting parameters of cost,
target by means of a rotatable ener- schematic of an automatic optical accuracy, speed of response, and
gy-absorbing optical wedge. The pyrometer with a dichroic mirror. usable temperature range. The user
object temperature is related to the Radiant energy passes through the should be cognizant of how the dif-
amount of energy absorbed by the lens into the mirror, which reflects ferent detectors and optical ele-
wedge, which is a function of its infrared radiation to the detector, ments affect the range of wave-
annular position. but allows visible light to pass lengths over which a thermometer
Automatic optical pyrometers, through to an adjustable eyepiece. responds. The spectral response of a
sensitized to measure in the infrared The calibrate flap is solenoid-oper- pyrometer will determine whether a
region, also are available. These ated from the amplifier, and when usable measurement is possible,
instruments use an electrical radia- actuated, cuts off the radiation given the presence of atmospheric
tion detector, rather than the coming through the lens, and focus- absorption, or reflections from

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

other objects, or trying to measure the optical system. Sensitivity typi- they are heated by the energy they
the temperature of materials like cally is not uniform over the surface absorb. These detectors have lower
glass or plastics. of a detector, but this has no effect sensitivity compared to other
if the target brightness is uniform. If detector types, and their outputs
• Detectors substantial temperature differences are less affected by changes in the
Thermal, photon, and pyroelectric occur on the target surface within radiated wavelengths. The speed of
detectors are typically used in radi- the patch imaged on the detector, response of thermal detectors is
ation pyrometers. Radiation detec- an ambiguously weighted average limited by their mass.
tors are strongly affected by ambi- will result. Thermal detectors are blackened
ent temperature changes. High In the case of total radiant power, so that they will respond to radiation
accuracy requires compensation for the area of the target surface over a wide spectrum (broadband
this ambient drift. imaged on the detector is limited by detectors). They are relatively slow,
The responsivity of a radiation a stop optically conjugate to the because they must reach thermal
detector may be specified in terms detector. This area can be made equilibrium whenever the target
of either the intensity of radiation, or arbitrarily small. As a result, local temperature changes. They can have
the total radiant power incident temperatures can be measured on time constants of a second or more,
upon the detector. the target body surface. The respon- although deposited detectors
When the image formed by the sivity of the detector may depend respond much faster.
target surface area is larger than the on the location of this target source A thermopile consists of one or
exposed area of the detector, the image on the detector surface. more thermocouples in series, usual-
entire detector surface is subjected Constancy of calibration will ly arranged in a radial pattern so the
to a radiation intensity proportional depend on maintaining the element hot junctions form a small circle,
to the brightness of the target. The in a fixed position with respect to and the cold junctions are main-
total radiant power absorbed by the the optical system. tained at the local ambient temper-
detector then depends on the area Thermal detectors are the most ature. Advanced thin film ther-
of its sensitive surface. The actual commonly used radiation ther- mopiles achieve response times in
size of the effective target area is mometer detectors. Thermal detec- the 10 to 15 millisecond range.
determined by the magnification of tors generate an output because Thermopiles also increase the out-
put signal strength and are the best
choice for broadband thermome-
Dichroic Circle ters. Ambient temperature compen-
Reticle Adjustable Eyepiece
Lens Mirror sation is required when thermopile
detectors are used. A thermostati-
cally controlled thermometer hous-
Eye ing is used to avoid ambient temper-
ature fluctuations for low tempera-
Calibration Lamp ture work. Self-powered infrared
Calibrate thermocouples are covered in the
Flag chapter beginning on p. 38.
Optical Chopper Bolometers are essentially resis-
tance thermometers arranged for
response to radiation. A sensing ele-
Filter ment with a thermistor, metal film,
Sync. Motor
Detector or metal wire transducer is often
called a bolometer.
Amplifier Photon detectors release electric
charges in response to incident radi-
Figure 3-9: An Automatic Optical Pyrometer ation. In lead sulfide and lead

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 3

selenide detectors, the release of Response can be restricted by ment. A mirror system must be pro-
charge is measured as a change in selecting the coating material with tected from dirt and damage by a
resistance. In silicon, germanium, and appropriate characteristics. window. Copper, silver and gold are
indium antimonide, the release of Photon and pyroelectric detectors the best materials for mirrors in the
charge is measured as a voltage out- have thermal drift that can be over- infrared range. Silver and copper sur-
put. Photon detectors have a maxi- come by temperature compensation faces should be protected against
mum wavelength beyond which they (thermistor) circuitry, temperature tarnish by a protective film.
will not respond. The peak response regulation, auto null circuitry, chop- The characteristics of the window
is usually at a wavelength a little
shorter than the cutoff wavelength.
Many radiation thermometers use 106
photon detectors rather than ther-
mal detectors, even though they PbS
measure over a narrower band of
wavelength. This is because within Ge
the range of useful wavelengths, the 104
Relative Sensitivity

photon detectors have a sensitivity Si InAs

1000 to 100,000 times that of the InSb
thermal detector. Response time of
Thermistor Bolometer
these detectors is in microseconds.
They are instable at longer wave- 102
Pyro Electric Thin Film
lengths and higher temperatures. Detector Thermopile
They are often used in narrow band 101
thermometers, or broadband ther-
mometers at medium temperatures Metal Thermopile
(200 to 800°F/93 to 427°C), and often .1 .2 .3 .5 .7 1 2 3 5 7 10 20
provided with cooling.
Wavelength, µm
Pyroelectric detectors change sur-
Chopped Unchopped
face charge in response to received
radiation. The detector need not Figure 3-10: Relative Sensitivity of IR Detectors
reach thermal equilibrium when the
target temperature changes, since it ping, and isothermal protection. material will affect the band of
responds to changes in incoming Figure 3-10 shows the different wavelengths over which the ther-
radiation. The incoming radiation sensitivity for various radiation mometer will respond. Glass does
must be chopped, and the detector detectors. PbS has the greatest sensi- not transmit well beyond 2.5
output cannot be used directly. A tivity, and the thermopile the least. microns, and is suited only for higher
chopper is a rotating or oscillating temperatures. Quartz (fused silica)
shutter employed to provide AC transmits to 4 microns, crystalline
rather than DC output from the sen- • Optical Systems calcium fluoride to 10 microns, ger-
sor. Relatively weak AC signals are As shown in Figure 3-11, the optical manium and zinc sulfide can transmit
more conveniently handled by con- system of a radiation pyrometer may into the 8 to 14 micron range. More
ditioning circuitry. The detector be composed of lenses, mirrors, or expensive materials will increase the
change can be likened to a change combinations of both. Mirror sys- transmission capability even more, as
in charge of a capacitor, which must tems do not generally determine the shown in Figure 3-12.
be read with a high impedance cir- spectral response of the instrument, Windows and filters, placed in
cuit. Pyroelectric detectors have as the reflectivity is not dependent front of or behind the optical sys-
radiation absorbent coatings so they on wavelength over the range used tem, and which are opaque outside a
can be broadband detectors. for industrial temperature measure- given wavelength range, can alter the

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

transmission properties greatly, and Figure 3-13 shows the transmittance for sizable targets. Visual aiming
prevent unwanted wavelengths from of some common materials as a accessories may be required for
reaching the detector. function of wavelength. Chemical sighting very small targets, or for
Mirror systems are generally used and physical properties may dictate sighting distant targets. A variety of
in fixed focus optical instruments. choice of material to meet given aiming techniques are available
Varying the focus of the instrument operating conditions. which include: simple bead and
requires moving parts, which is less The aberrations present in a single groove gun sights, integrated or
complicated in a lens system. The lens system may not permit precise detachable optical viewing finders,
selection of lens and window mate- image formation on the detector. A through-lens sighting, and integrated
rial is a compromise between the corrected lens, comprised of two or or detachable light beam markers.
optical and physical properties of more elements of different material,
the material, and the desired wave- may be required.
length response of the instrument. The physical shape of the optical • Field of View
The essential design characteristics system, and its mounting in the hous- The field of view of a radiation ther-
of materials suitable for lenses, ing, controls the sighting path. For mometer essentially defines the size
prisms, and windows include many designs, the optical system is of the target at a specified distance
approximate reflection loss, and aligned to surface and measures sur- from the instrument. Field of view
short and long wavelength cut-offs. face temperature. This is satisfactory can be stated in the form of a dia-
gram (Figure 3-14), a table of target
sizes versus distance, as the target
size at the focal distance, or as an
angular field of view.
Figure 3-15 shows typical wide
angle and narrow angle fields of view.
Objective Lens Eyepiece Lens With a wide angle field of view, tar-
get size requirements neck down to a
Objective Mirror
minimum at the focal distance. The
narrow angle field of view flares out
Detector Lens more slowly. In either case, cross sec-
tional area can vary from circular, to
Prism or Reticule rectangular, to slit shaped, depend-
Mirror Lens Detector ing on the apertures used in the ther-
mometer optics system.
Beam Splitting Prism Telescopic eyepieces on some
designs can magnify the radiant
Movable Objective Lens Reticule, Usually In Fixed energy so smaller targets can be
For Variable Focus Position viewed at greater distances. Targets
Eyepiece Lens as small as 1/16 inch in diameter are
Half Silvered MIrror measurable using the correct ther-
Reflects Infrared, mometer design. A common optics
Detector Passes Visible Energy
system will produce a 1-inch diame-
Detector ter target size at a 15-inch working
distance. Other optical systems vary
from small spot (0.030 inch) for
Small Opaque close up, pinpoint measurement, to
Mirror Mirror Eyepiece Lens distant optics that create a 3-inch
diameter target size at 30 feet. The
Figure 3-11: Typical Optical Systems angle of viewing also affects the tar-

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 3

get size and shape. its axis. A circular field stop is imaged area. The output of the thermometer
In calibrating a radiation ther- as a circle with a halo around it. should increase proportional to the
mometer, the radiation source must Mirrors also have spherical aberration. aperture area for aperture areas less
completely fill the field of view in Chromatic aberration occurs than the nominal target area. The
order to check the calibration out- because the refractive index of opti- output should increase only mini-
put. If the field of view is not filled, cal materials changes with wave- mally for increasing areas, above the
the thermometer will read low. If a length, with the refractive index nominal target area. Increases of a
thermometer does not have a well lower at shorter wavelengths. This few tenths of a percent in output for
defined field of view, the output of means rays of shorter wavelength are each doubling of the aperture area
the instrument will increase if the bent more and focus nearer the lens, indicates the nominal field of view
object of measurement is larger than while rays of longer wavelength are takes into account the effects of
the minimum size. focused farther from the lens. The aberrations. If these are not taken
The image of the field stop at the image of a field stop over a band of into account, the thermometer out-
focal distance for most thermometers wavelengths is hence a fuzzy image. put may show significant increases in
is larger than the diameter of the field Fuzziness of the field of view can output as the viewable target area is
stop. Between the focal distance, the also be caused by imperfections in increased above the nominal value.
field of view is determined by the lens the optical material, and reflections
diameter and the image diameter. from internal parts of the ther-
Lines drawn from the image, at the mometer. Quality materials, and • Electronics
focal distance, to the lens diameter blackening of inside surfaces reduce The calibration curves of detector
enclose the field of view. Beyond the these latter effects. output versus temperature of all
focal distance, the field of view is Some manufacturers state a field detectors is non-linear because the
determined by rays extending from of view that includes effects of aber- equations relating the amount of
the extremities of the lens diameter rations, and some do not. If the tar- radiation emitted by an object are
through the extremities of the image get size and stated field of view are power functions. The radiation ther-
at the focal distance. nearly the same, it may be wise to mometer electronics must amplify,
In practice, any statement of field determine the field of view experi- regulate, linearize and convert this
of view is only an approximation mentally. Sight the thermometer on signal to an mV or mA output pro-
because of spherical and chromatic a target that gives a steady, uniform portional to temperature.
aberration. Spherical aberration is source of radiation. At the focal dis- Before microprocessors, the
caused by the fact that rays hitting the tance, interpose a series of apertures advantage of high N values was off-
lens remote from its axis are bent of different diameter. Plot the ther- set by the fact that the useful range
more than rays passing the lens near mometer output versus the aperture of temperature measurement with an

Potassium Bromide
Zinc Sulfide
Thickness 1mm
Transmittance, %


60 77K











All can be AR coated

10 except BaF2, MgF2, KBr

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Wavelength, µm
Figure 3-12: IR Transmission of Optical Materials

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

90 Thickness 1mm
80 77K
Transmittance, %

Zinc Selenide
60 Germanium
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
Wavelength, µm

Figure 3-13: IR Transmission Characteristics

instrument of fixed span was very perature, it is necessary to accurately under 1000°F, it is also dependent on
low. For example, for N=15, an instru- measure the detector temperature. the detector temperature itself.
ment reading 100% of scale at 1000° Detector body temperatures span Again, a microprocessor can make
C would read approximately 820°C at the range of the environment, from accurate compensation for both
10% of full scale. If the target tem- -50 to 100°C. Over this range, the these effects.
perature were expected to fall out- most precise and accurate tempera- There is a fourth power relation-
side this narrow band, linearization ture transducer is the thermistor. ship between the detector output
or range switching was necessary. However, thermistor outputs are voltage and target temperature.
Today, microprocessors easily permit highly non-linear and vary widely Analog devices typically use linear
such signals to be linearized very from unit to unit. Analog devices must approximation techniques to charac-
cost effectively. abandon use of the thermistor for a terize this relationship. A computer
Microprocessor-based electronics less accurate and easier to use ele- can solve, in real time, a complex
(Figure 3-16) are superior to conven- ment, such as an integrated circuit, algorithm, with as many as seven
tional analog electronics because in which has a linear output. But highly terms, instead of linear approxima-
situ computing can be used to cor- non-linear responses are no problem tion, for higher accuracy.
rect detector imperfections, provide for a computer, and units with micro- Detector zero drift due to ambient
emissivity compensation, and pro- processors can employ thermistors. temperature conditions can also be
vide digital outputs for two way Detector responsivity is also a corrected using a microprocessor.
communications between the ther- non-linear function of the detector This avoids errors of several degrees
mometer and a PC or a control sys- body temperature. It is typically
tem workstation. grossly corrected in analog devices
Focal Distance
Many of the shortcomings of ther- with a simple linear gain correction
mal type detectors can be handled produced by a temperature sensitive
Lens Diameter
by sophisticated data processing resistor in the preamplifier feedback
techniques available in digital com- network. A microprocessor can use a
puters. The target temperature is an complex algorithm for the detection Angular Field
of View
exponential function of the detector body temperature to correct for
temperature. The output signal from changes in detector responsivity. Field Stop
the detector is a small voltage pro- The net radiant target signal
portional to the difference in tem- power impinging on the detector is
Minimum Target Diameters
perature between the target and the highly non-linear with the target
detector itself. To get the target tem- temperature, and for temperatures Figure 3-14: Field of View

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 3

contact closure or relay outputs pro-

1 Dia. Lens
8 1 Dia. Target
4 1 Dia. Target
vided as options, and based on the
incoming temperature data. In addi-
tion, intelligent devices can accept
auxiliary inputs from thermocouples,
36 RTDs or other radiation thermome-
ters, and then use this data to support
Sighting Path of the Narrow-Angle Total Radiation Pyrometer internal functions. For example, a high
temperature setpoint could be con-
183 Dia. 7
8 Dia.
2 Dia. 143 Dia. 2 43 Dia. 4 21 Dia.
Lens Target Target Target Target Target tinuously, and automatically reset by
the microprocessor in response to
input variable history.
A sample-and-hold function is
10 useful when a selected event serves
24 to trigger the temperature measure-
36 ment of an object. The thermometer
measures temperature at that instant,
Sighting Path of the Wide-Angle Total Radiation Pyrometer
disregarding earlier or later measure-
Figure 3-15: Typical Narrow and Wide Angle Sighting Paths ments. Analog circuitry exhibited a
slow drift of the measurement during
when you move an instrument from mometer can be programmed to run the hold period, but modern digital
one room to another having a differ- preprogrammed internal calibration instruments hold the value without
ent temperature. procedures during gaps, or windows degradation for indefinite periods.
Precise emissivity corrections can in measurement activity. This pre- Sometimes, the highest tempera-
be called up, either from as many as 10 vents internal calibration checks ture within the field of view is of
values stored in EEPROM, or from a from taking the device off-line at a interest during a given period.
complex real-time algorithm depen- critical moment in the process. A Intelligent electronics can be pro-
dent on target time-temperature rela- thermometer reading the tempera- grammed to store into memory the
tionships. An example is a program to ture of cans on a conveyor belt can highest temperature it saw in a sam-
compensate for the emissivity of a run an internal calibration program pling period. This is called peak pick-
piece of steel, which oxidizes as it whenever a gap between successive ing. Valley picking, when the lowest
heats to higher temperatures. cans is sensed. temperature measured over a given
Preprocessing by an onboard An internal microprocessor can period is of interest, also is possible.
microprocessor may allow extrac- also perform external control func- Averaging is used to prevent rapid
tion of only the pertinent data tions on external loop elements, using excursions of the object temperature
needed by control systems. For
example, only out of range data,
determined by setpoints pro-
grammed into the microprocessor, Digital
Optical Assembly IR Sensor Low Noise
may be desired for data transmis- Reamp Output

sion. This data can be transmitted Analog ADC Micro-
digitally, on a priority interrupt MUX computer
basis. This is more efficient than
having the user transmit all mea- Thermistor
sured data to the host system, only Optical Chopper
to have the pertinent information +9 VDC
sorted there.
An intelligent radiation ther-
Figure 3-16: Microprocessor-Based IR Thermometer

3 IR Thermometers & Pyrometers

from the average value from causing In some designs, a local hot surement of the temperature of a
noise in the control system. A com- source, or hot surface, may be main- surface. Radiation from the target is
mon way to accomplish this is to tained at a known reference temper- multiply reflected from the hemi-
slow down the response of the ature. The detector alternately sees spherical mirror shown. A detector
instrument via software in the micro- receives this radiation through a
processor-based electronics. small opening in the reflector. The
Detector Gold-Plated radiation multiply reflected
Hemispherical between the mirror and target
• Construction appears to the detector to be from a
Figure 3-11, p. 33, illustrates the com- blackbody. A commercial pyrometer
mon types of construction found in using this technique can read the
industrial radiation thermometers. temperature of targets with emissivi-
The constructions in (a) and (b) are Figure 3-17: Surface Temperature Pyrometer ty as low as 0.6 without correction.
typical of instruments using detec- The reflector must be placed close
tors that give a stable DC millivolt the target and the reference source. to the surface being measured to
output without preamplification The resulting AC signal can then be eliminate extraneous radiation and
such as thermopiles and silicon cells. calibrated in terms of the unknown prevent losses. It can only be used
The construction in (a) has also been target temperature. for short time durations because
used for detectors whose DC drift In ratio thermometers, the filters heating of the reflector will affect
demands that they be used in an AC that define the pass band of the two the measurement accuracy. In addi-
mode. A spinning disk or vibrating radiation signals that are ratioed may tion, the energy reflected back to the
reed is interposed between the lens be on the chopping disc. target surface may cause its temper-
and the detector to cyclically inter- Figure 3-17 illustrates a portable ature to change. T
rupt the radiation. Thus the detector radiation thermometer for spot mea-
sees pulses of radiation. The output
of the detector is AC. The detector References and Further Reading
package must be small enough so • Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press, 1997.
that it doesn’t interfere with optical • New Horizons in Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press,
sighting to the target. 1996.
The constructions in (c), (d), and (e) • “Evolution in the Application of Optical Fiber Thermometry”, F.G. Bear
are useful when the detector pack- Tinsley, Bruce Adams, Proceedings of the International Conference and
age is too large to permit sighting Exhibitions, Instrument Society of America, 1991.
around it. Optical chopping between • Infrared Temperature Measurement, MIT Video Series, R. John Hansman,
the lens and the detector is common Jr., Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
in these constructions. The back sur- • “Progress on the Development of Multi-wavelength Imaging Pyrometer,”
face of the chopping disk, or blade, Michael B, Kaplinsky, Jun Li, Nathaniel J. McCaffrey, Edwin S. H. Hou and
may serve as a local ambient tem- Walter F. Kosonecky, SPIE Proceedings, 1996.
perature reference. The detector • Temperature Measurement in Industry, E. C. Magison, Instrument Society
alternately sees the target and the of America, 1990.
modulating device, which is at local • “Uncooled Multispectral Detectors and their Applications”, Volkman
ambient temperature. Norkus, Gunter Hofman and Christine Schiewe, SPIE Proceedings, 1966.



Infrared Thermocouples
Thermocouple Basics
Self-Powered Infrared Thermocouples
Installation Guidelines
Infrared Thermocouples
s described in chapter 3 on “IR metal wires (such as iron and “Where there is a hot junction there

A Thermometers & Pyrometers”,

thermocouples have been
used as detectors in radia-
tion thermometry for many decades.
Often, a series of thermocouples, or
Constantan) are connected at both
ends to form a complete electric
circuit, an emf is developed when
one junction of the two wires is at a
different temperature than the
is always a cold or reference junc-
tion” (even though it may seem hid-
den inside an instrument 1,000 feet
away from the hot junction).
Still in Seebeck’s century, two
thermopile, was the thermal detec- other junction. other scientists delved deeper into
tor of choice. But in more recent Basically, the developed emf (actu- how the emf is developed in a ther-
years a new class of low-cost, self- ally a small millivoltage) is dependent moelectric circuit. Attached to their
powered “infrared thermocouples” upon two conditions: (1) the differ- names are two phenomena they
has been developed, and has ence in temperature between the hot observed—the Peltier effect (for Jean
opened up a broad market for non- junction and the cold junction. Note Peltier in 1834) and the Thompson
contact temperature measurement that any change in either junction effect (for Sir William Thompson a.k.a
in such industries as food, electron- temperature can affect the emf value Lord Kelvin in 1851). Without getting
ics, paper, pharmaceutical, plastics, and (2) the metallurgical composition into the theories involved, we can
rubber, and textiles. of the two wires. state that the Peltier effect is the emf
All infrared thermocouple sensors Although a “thermocouple” is resulting solely from the contact of
work in a fashion similar to a stan- often pictured as two wires joined the two dissimilar wires. Its magni-
dard thermocouple: a small millivolt- at one end, with the other ends not tude varies with the temperature at
age or electromotive force (emf) connected, it is important to the juncture. Similarly, the Thompson
relates to the temperature being remember that it is not a true ther- effect can be summarized as having
measured. To correctly apply any mocouple unless the other end is to do with emf’s produced by a tem-
such instrument, the user or designer also connected! It is well for the perature gradient along a metal con-
must be aware of certain basic char- user to remember this axiom: ductor. Since there are two points of
acteristics of all thermocouples and
the circuitry involved. Just how does
the thermocouple function in pro- 8
viding a usable emf measuring signal?
And what is important to observe so
far as metering that signal to accu- 6
rately indicate the measured temper- 4 mV
ature? What is the effect of changes

in ambient temperature—at the ther- 6.68

mocouple and at the meter? A dis- mV
cussion with reference to Figure 4-1
will help make such points clear. 2
2.68 mV

Thermocouple Basics 0 1 3

Let’s start with T. J. Seebeck, who in

1821 discovered what is now termed
0 200 400 600 800
the thermoelectric effect. He noted °F
that when two lengths of dissimilar Figure 4-1: Thermocouple Operation

4 Infrared Thermocouples

contact and two different metals or

alloys in any thermocouple, there are
two Peltier and two Thompson emfs. T1 T2
The net emf acting in the circuit is the
result of all the above named effects. A
Polarity of the net emf is deter-
mined by (a) the particular metal or
alloy pair that is used (such as iron- B
constantan) and (b) the relationship of All three A
the temperatures at the two junctions. circuits C
The value of the emf can be measured generate
by a potentiometer, connected into same EMF B
the circuit at any point. A
In summary, the net emf is a func- C
tion primarily of the temperature dif- D
ference between the two junctions E
and the kinds of materials used. If the F
temperature of the cold junction is B
maintained constant, or variations in
that temperature are compensated for,
then the net emf is a function of the
hot junction temperature.
Figure 4-2: Equivalent Thermocouple Circuits
In most installations, it is not prac-
tical to maintain the cold junction at
a constant temperature. The usual at the intermediate reference point tive resistor which measures the vari-
standard temperature for the junc- of 300°F and its hot junction at the ations in temperature at the cold
tion (referred to as the “reference temperature being measured (700°F). junction (usually caused by ambient
junction”) is 32°F (0°C). This is the It generates 4.00 mv. The Law of conditions) and automatically devel-
basis for published tables of emf ver- Intermediate Temperatures states ops the proper voltage correction.
sus temperature for the various types the sum of the emfs generated by Another use of this law shows that
of thermocouples. thermocouples 1 and 2 will equal the extension wires having the same
The Law of Intermediate emf that would be generated by a thermoelectric characteristics as
Temperatures provides a means of single thermocouple (3, shown dot- those of the thermocouple can be
relating the emf generated under ted) with its cold junction at 32°F and introduced into the thermocouple
ordinary conditions to what it should its hot junction at 700°F, the mea- circuit without affecting the net emf
be for the standardized constant sured temperature. That is, it would of the thermocouple.
temperature (e.g., 32°F). Referring to hypothetically read 6.68 mv and rep- In practice, additional metals are
Figure 4-1, which shows thermocou- resent the “true” emf according to usually introduced into the thermo-
ples 1 and 2 made of the same two the thermocouple’s emf vs. tempera- couple circuit. The measuring instru-
dissimilar metals; this diagram will ture calibration curve. ment, for example, may have junc-
provide an example of how the law Based upon this law, the manufac- tures that are soldered or welded.
works. Thermocouple 1 has its cold turer of an infrared thermocouple Such metals as copper, manganin, lead,
junction at the standard reference need only provide some means of tin, and nickel may be introduced.
temperature of 32°F and its hot junc- substituting for the function of ther- Would not additional metals like
tion at some arbitrary intermediate mocouple 1 to provide readings ref- this modify the thermocouple’s emf?
reference temperature (in this case, erenced to the standard 32°F cold Not so, according to the Law of
300°F). It generates 2.68 mv. junction. Many instruments accom- Intermediate Metals. It states that
Thermocouple 2 has its cold junction plish this with a temperature-sensi- the introduction of additional metals

Infrared Thermocouples 4

will have no effect upon the emf The actual thermocouple wires quence: the net effect of the three
generated so long as the junctions of normally terminate relatively near thermocouples is as if one thermo-
these metals with the two thermo- the hot junction. Conventional cou- couple ran from the hot junction to
couple wires are at the same temper- ples have what is called a “terminal the cold junction.
ature. This effect is illustrated in head” at which point interconnecting
Figure 4-2, with A and B representing wires, known as “extension wires” are
the thermocouple wires. required as shown. Since these wires The Infrared Thermocouple
A practical example of this law is are in the thermoelectric circuit, they Over the past decade or two, there
found in the basic thermoelectric must essentially match the emf vs. has been a mushroom growth in the
system shown in Figure 4-3. The temperature characteristics of the small, application-specific designs of
instrument can be located at some thermocouple. infrared thermocouples. These con-
distance from the point of measure- With the cold junction located tain a sophisticated optical system
ment where the thermocouple is inside the instrument, internal exten- and electronic circuitry that belie the
located. Several very basic and prac- sion wires of the proper materials simplicity of their external, tube-like
tical points are illustrated in this ele- must be used between the instru- appearance. They use a special propri-
mentary circuit diagram: ment terminals and the cold junction. etary design of thermopile which
Quite often the most convenient With this set-up, there are in develops enough emf to be connect-
place to provide the cold junction effect three added thermocouples ed directly to a conventional thermo-
compensation is in the instrument, in the circuit: one in the thermocou- couple type potentiometer or trans-
remote from the process. ple assembly, one in the external mitter for all types of indication,
With the compensation means extension wire, and in the internal recording, and control.
located in the instrument, in effect, extension wire. However, according A wide variety of these devices are
the thermoelectric circuit is extend- to the Law of Intermediate commercially available, covering tem-
ed from the thermocouple hot junc- Temperatures, the actual tempera- perature ranges from -50 to 5000°F
tion to the reference (cold) junction tures at the terminal head and at the (-45 to 2760°C) with up to 0.01°C pre-
in the instrument. instrument terminals is of no conse- cision. The range of models includes:


Hot Junction Terminal Head

Cold Junction


Extension Wire (External)


Figure 4-3: Typical Thermocouple Installation

4 Infrared Thermocouples

Actual IR Thermo- Thermocouple

Millivolt Output
Millivolt Output

couple Signal

Linear Region

Target Temperature Target Temperature

Figure 4-4: IR Thermocouple Output

• Standard units, simulating the ther- What’s more, the designer can match lurgically. It contains no active elec-
mocouple outputs J, K, T, E, R, and S the two curves to be within a degree tronic components and no power
and offering 12 different fields of of tolerance such as ±2%, as speci- source other than the thermocouple
view from 1:2 to 100:1. Minimum spot fied by the buyer. itself. Thus, suppliers rate its long-term
size is 1 mm and focused spot sizes Each model is specifically repeatability, conservatively, at 1%.
available range from 4 mm to 12 mm. designed for optimum performance Long term accuracy is influenced
• Handheld scanning models for in the region of best linear fit with by the same factors that affect relia-
such applications as accurate scan- the thermocouple’s mv vs. tempera- bility. In comparison to the applica-
ning of electrical equipment and ture curve. The sensor can be used tion of conventional thermocouples,
NIST traceable surface temperature outside that range, however, by sim- the infrared thermocouple is well
calibration—a must for ISO 9001, ply calibrating the readout device protected inside a rigid, stainless
9002, 9003 programs. appropriately. Once so calibrated, steel housing. Along with the solid,
• Thermal switches that act like pho- the output signal is smooth and fully-potted construction, this design
tocells for use in production line continuous over the entire range of essentially eliminates the classical
quality inspection of thermal the thermocouple, and will main- drift problems of conventional ther-
processes with line speeds of up to tain a 1% repeatability over the mocouples. Double annealing at tem-
1000 feet per minute. entire range. peratures above 212°F (100°C) helps
All infrared thermocouples are The user can select a model to ensure long term stability.
self-powered, using only the incom- provide, say, a 2% accuracy, by refer-
ing infrared radiation to produce an ring in the supplier’s literature to a
mv output signal through thermo- Range Chart which provides a verti- Installation Guidelines
electric effects. The signal thus fol- cal list of “Range Codes” with a cor- Like all radiation-based sensing sys-
lows the rules of radiation thermal responding Temperature Range over tems, the infrared thermocouple
physics and produces a curve as which 2% accuracy is to be expected. must be calibrated for specific sur-
shown in Figure 4-4. The user also specifies the type of face properties of the object being
Over a specific, relatively narrow thermocouple (J, K, etc). measured, including amount of heat
temperature range, the output is suffi- A typical infrared thermocouple radiated from the target surface and
ciently linear to produce an mv out- comprises a solid, hermetically-sealed, environmental heat reflections.
put that can be closely matched to fully-potted system. As such, even The calibration is performed by
the mv vs. temperature curve of a during severe service, it does not measuring the target surface temper-
given thermocouple type (Figure 4-4). change either mechanically or metal- ature with a reliable independent sur-

Infrared Thermocouples 4

face-temperature probe. One such (4) Make the proper adjustments calibration matches the reading of
device is a handheld infrared ther- on the readout instrument so that its the handheld device. T
mometer with a built-in automatic
emissivity compensation system.
The following procedure is recom- References and Further Reading
mended: • Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press, 1997.
(1) Install the infrared thermocou- • New Horizons in Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press,
ple as close as practical to view the 1996.
target to be measured. • The Infrared Temperature Handbook, Omega Engineering, 1994.
(2) Connect the infrared thermo- • Handbook of Non-Contact Temperature Sensors, The IRt/c Book, Third
couple to the supervisory controller Edition, Exergen Corp., 1996.
or data acquisition system in stan- • Instrument Engineers’ Handbook, Third Edition, B. Liptak, Chilton Book
dard fashion (including shield). As Co. (CRC Press), 1995.
with conventional thermocouples, • Process/Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook, Fourth Edition,
the red wire is always negative. D. M. Considine, ed., McGraw-Hill, 1993.
(3) Bring the process up to normal • “Some Basic Concepts of Thermoelectric Pyrometry,” C.C. Roberts and
operating temperature and use the C.A. Vogelsang, Instrumentation, Vol. 4, No.1, 1949.
hand-held radiation thermometer to • Temperature Measurement in Engineering, H. Dean Baker, E. A. Ryder, and
measure the actual target temperature. N. H. Baker, Omega Press, 1975.



Fiber Optic Extensions
Fiber Advantages
Fiber Applications

Fiber Optic Extensions Component Options

iber optics are essentially light has evolved as the fiber optics tech- or infrared temperature measurement,

F pipes, and their basic opera-

tion may be traced back more
than a century when British
Physicist John Tyndall demonstrated
that light could be carried within a
nology driving force since the mid-
’80s. Increased use of fiber optics
well correlates with fiber materials
developments and lower component
costs. Advances in glass fibers have
fiber optics offer some inherent
advantages for measurements in
industrial and/or harsh environments:
• Unaffected by electromagnetic
interference (EMI) from large motors,
stream of water spouting out and led to transmission improvements transformers, welders and the like;
curving downward from a tank. A amounting to over three orders of • Unaffected by radio frequency
thin glass rod for optical transmis- magnitude since the early Corning interference (RFI) from wireless com-
sion was the basis of a 1934 patent Glass efforts. For example, ordinary munications and lightning activity;
awarded to Bell Labs for a “Light plate glass has a visible light attenua-
Pipe.” American Optical demonstrat- tion coefficient of several thousand
dBs per km. Current fiber optic glass- Optical
ed light transmission through short Fiber Core
lengths of flexible glass fibers in the es a kilometer thick would transmit
1950s. However, most modern as much light as say a 1/” 4 plate glass
advances in fiber optics grew out of pane. Table 5-1 indicates relative dig-
Corning Glass developments in glass ital data transmission losses for cop-
technology and production methods per and fiber.
disclosed in the early 1970s.
Like many technical developments Cladding
since WWII, fiber optics programs Fiber Advantages
were largely government funded for Improved glass transmissions have Clear
their potential military advantages. resulted in undersea cables with
Projects primarily supported telecom- Phosphor in
repeaters required about every 40 Elastomer
munications applications and laser miles—ten times the distance
fiber ring gyroscopes for aircraft/mis- required by copper. Bandwidth and Figure 5-1: Fiber Optic Probe Construction
sile navigation. Some sensor develop- robustness have led to cable service
ments were included in manufactur- providers selecting fiber optics as • Can be positioned in hard-to-reach
ing technology (Mantech) programs as the backbone media for regional or view places;
well as for aircraft, missile and ship- multimedia consumer services. The • Can be focused to measure small
board robust sensor developments. world market for fiber optic compo- or precise locations;
More recently the Dept. of Energy and nents was in the $4 billion range in • Does not or will not carry electri-
NIST have also supported various 1994 and is projected to reach $8 bil- cal current (ideal for explosive haz-
fiber optic developments. lion in 1998. ard locations);
Commercial telecommunications Whether used for communications • Fiber cables can be run in existing
conduit, cable trays or be strapped onto
Table 5-1: Relative Transmission Losses for Digital Data beams, pipes or conduit (easily installed
Losses in dB/km for expansions or retrofits); and,
1.5Mb/s 6.3Mb/s 45Mb/s
26 gage twisted wire pair 24 48 128
• Certain cables can handle ambient
temperatures to over 300°C—higher
19 gage twisted wire pair 10.8 21 56
with air or water purging.
RG 217/u coaxial cable 2.1 4.5 11
Any sensing via fiber optic links
Optical fiber 0.82 µm wavelength carrier 3.5 3.5 3.5
requires that the variable cause a

Ω Fiber Optic Extensions 5

modulation of some type to an opti- turbine areas are typical applica-

Fiber/Lens Holder
cal signal—either to a signal pro- tions in power generation opera- Single Strand Optical Fiber
duced by the variable or to a signal tions. Rolling lines in steel and other Glass Focusing Sphere
originating in the sensing device. fabricated metal plants also pose Trans-
Basically, the modulation takes the harsh conditions which are well parent
form of changes in radiation intensi- handled by fiber optics. Plate
ty, phase, wavelength or polarization. Typical applications include fur-
For temperature measurements, naces of all sorts, sintering opera- Upper Air
Purge Plate
intensity modulation is by far the tions, ovens and kilns. Automated
most prevalent method used. welding, brazing and annealing Lower Air Purge
Purge Plate Air In
The group of sensors known as fiber equipment often generate large elec-
optic thermometers generally refer to trical fields which can disturb con-
those devices measuring higher tem- ventional sensors.
peratures wherein blackbody radiation High temperature processing
Surface of Target Web
physics are utilized. Lower tempera- operations in cement, refractory and
ture targets—say from -100°C to chemical industries often use fiber Figure 5-3: Multipoint Pick-up Assembly
400°C—can be measured by activating optic temperature sensing. At some-
various sensing materials such as what lesser temperatures, plastics ature monitoring in nuclear reactors.
phosphors, semiconductors or liquid processing, paper making and food A similar approach can be used for
crystals with fiber optic links offering processing operations are making fire detection around turbines or jet
the environmental and remoteness more use of the technology. Fiber engines. Internal “hot spot” reflect-
advantages listed previously. optics are also used in fusion, sput- ing circuitry has been incorporated
tering, and crystal growth processes to determine the location of the
in the semiconductor industry. hot area.
Fiber Applications Beyond direct radiant energy col- An activated temperature measur-
Fiber optic thermometers have lection or two-color methods, fiber ing system involves a sensing head
proven invaluable in measuring tem- optic glasses can be doped to serve containing a luminescing phosphor
peratures in basic metals and glass directly as radiation emitters at hot attached at the tip of an optical fiber
productions as well as in the initial spots so that the fiber optics serve (Figure 5-1). A pulsed light source
hot forming processes for such as both the sensor and the media. from the instrument package excites
materials. Boiler burner flames and Westinghouse has developed such the phosphor to luminescence and
tube temperatures as well as critical an approach for distributed temper- the decay rate of the luminescence is
dependent on the temperature.
These methods work well for non-
Blackbody Low Temperature Optical glowing, but hot surfaces below
Cavity Analyzer Detector
Single Crystal Optical Fiber about 400°C.
Sapphire (Al2O3) A sapphire probe developed by
Accufiber has the sensing end coated
Coupler Lens by a refractory metal forming a black-
body cavity. The thin, sapphire rod
Thin Film
Metal Coating thermally insulates and connects to
Narrowband an optical fiber as is shown in Figure 5-
2. An optical interference filter and
photodetector determines the wave-
length and hence temperature.
Al2O3 Protective
Film Babcock & Wilcox has developed a
quite useful moving web or roller
Figure 5-2: Typical IR Fiber Optic Probe temperature monitoring system

5 Fiber Optic Extensions

ation actually bounces down the

Cladding length of the cable. Various metal,
Very Small Θ0 Core Teflon or plastics are used for outer
protective jackets.
The difference in refractive indices
Core of the core and cladding also identi-
fy an acceptance cone angle for radi-
ation to enter the fiber and be trans-
Core and
Plastic Tubing Tape or Sleeve Cladding mitted. However, lenses are often
used to better couple the fiber with
Jacket Silicon (RTV)
(PVC) Braided Inner Jacket a target surface.
(Strength) For relatively short run temperature
Laquer Coated Member Plastic
Optical Fiber Outer Jacket sensing, losses in the fiber optic link
SINGLE-FIBER CABLES are generally negligible. Losses in con-
nectors, splices and couplers predom-
Polyurethane Laquered Jacketed Tape
Sheath Optical Strength Separator inate and deserve appropriate engi-
Fibers Member neering attention. Along with the
Jacket Plastic Tube
(PVC) Containers fiber optic cable, a temperature mea-
Fabric Jacket Coated suring system will include an array of
Strength Plastic Tube (PVC) Optical
Members Containers Fibers components such as probes, sensors
or receivers, terminals, lenses, cou-
plers, connectors, etc. Supplemental
Figure 5-4: Fiber Optic Cable Construction items like blackbody calibrators and
backlighter units which illuminate
which will measure temperatures rays back into the central fiber core actual field of view are often needed
from 120°C to 180°C across webs up so that most of the conducted radi- to ensure reliable operation. T
to 4 meters (13 ft.) wide (Figure 5-3).
The system combines optical and
electronic multiplexing and can have References and Further Reading
as many as 160 individual pickup • Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press, 1997.
fibers arranged in up to 10 rows. The • “Fiber Optic PLC Links,” Kenneth Ball, Programmable Controls, Nov/Dec 1988.
fibers transfer the radiation through • Fiber Optic Sensors, Eric Udd, John Wiley & Sons, 1991.
a lens onto a photodiode array. • Handbook of Intelligent Sensors for Industrial Automation, Nello Zuech,
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1992.
• “Infrared Optical Fibers”, M.G. Drexhage and C.T. Moynihan, Scientific
Component Options American, November 1988.
Fiber optics for temperature mea- • Measurements for Competitiveness in Electronics, NIST Electronics and
surements as well as for communi- Electrical Engineering Laboratory, 1993.
cations depends on minimizing loss- • “Multichannel Fiber-Optic Temperature Monitor,” L. Jeffers, Babcock &
es in the light or infrared radiation Wilcox Report; B&W R&D Division; Alliance, Ohio.
being transmitted. Basics of light • Optical Fiber Sensors: Systems and Applications, Vol 2, B. Culshaw
conduction (Figure 5-4) is a central and J. Dakin, Artech House; 1989.
glass fiber which has been carefully • Process Measurement and Analysis; Instrument Engineers’ Handbook,
produced to have nearly zero Third Edition, B. Liptak, Chilton Book Company, 1995.
absorption losses at the wave- • “Radiation Thermometers/Pyrometers,” C. Warren, Measurements
lengths of interest. A cladding mate- & Control, February, 1995.
rial with a much lower index of • Sensors and Control Systems in Manufacturing, S. Soloman,
refraction reflects all non-axial light McGraw-Hill, 1994.



Linescanning & Thermography
Infrared Linescanners
2-D Thermographic Analysis
Enter the Microprocessor
Linescanning & Thermography
inescannning and thermogra- contemporary units offer up to 500 ronment. Mounted several feet above

L phy essentially extend the con-

cept of point radiation ther-
mometry to one-dimensional
profiles or two-dimensional pictures
of non-contact temperature data.
scans per second. The electronic cir-
cuitry behind the detector element
chops the thermal data for each lin-
ear pass into several hundred to sever-
al thousand individual measurement
and focused on the moving web of
product in a production line makes
the linescanner an element of a real-
time process feedback and closed-
loop control scheme.
One-dimensional linescanners have points. High speed data collection cir-
a wide range of application. They are cuitry then quantifies, digitizes, and
used in the production of fiberboard, captures the temperature of the • Linescanner Operation
carpets, vinyl flooring, paper, packag- object at the measurement points The resolution of a linescanner is a
ing material, pressure sensitive tapes, along each scan. Additional circuitry function of the speed of the moving
laminates, float glass, safety glass, then analyzes and manipulates the web, the scan rate, the number of
and nearly any other web-type prod- digital data to produce a real-time dis- measurements per scan, and the
uct for which temperature control is play of the temperature of the view width of the scanned line. The accu-
critical. Linescanners also monitor presented to the detector. racy and response of the linescanner
hot rolling mills, cement and lime By itself, a linear temperature scan depends on a clean optical path
kilns, and other rotary thermal pro- constitutes a rather myopic view of a between the target and the overhead
cessing equipment. stationary object. However, an object detector, which can be problematic
Thermographic “cameras” find use moving past a stationary linescanner in a typical manufacturing environ-
in the maintenance function in man- provides a data-rich measuring envi- ment. Linescanners are available with
ufacturing plants, especially in the
asset-driven capital intensive indus-
tries in which temperature is an Stationary
Thermograph Object
active concern and diagnostic tool.
Typical targets for infrared inspec-
tion include electrical equipment, Point Being
frictional effects of power transmis- Measured
sion equipment, and thermal pro-
cessing steps in a production line. ZERO-DIMENSIONAL THERMOGRAPHY

Infrared Linescanners Linescanning

The typical sensor unit for linescan A
False Isometric
thermography uses a single detector Color Representation
that, by itself, is limited to measuring
the temperature at only one point.
However, a rotating mirror assembly Moving Web
Point A of Material
focuses a single, constantly changing,
narrow slice of real-world view on Line Being
Point B
the detector surface (Figure 6-1). Measured
Although adequate thermal mea-
surement resolution may require ONE-DIMENSIONAL THERMOGRAPHY
only a few dozen scans per second, Figure 6-1: Linescanner Operation

6 Linescanning & Thermography

air purge system to keep the optics individual heaters, helps to maximize of a linescanner application
clean. Water cooling of the sensor the productivity of the press. for a moving web of temperature
assembly may be necessary to main- Another application for linescan- sensitive material.
tain reliable operation in hot envi- ning in the plastic industry is in blow-
ronments. Sealed housings and bear- molding plastic film. The process 2-D Thermographic Analysis
ings protect delicate components involves extruding a polymer melt Adding another simultaneous geo-
against moisture and dust. through a circular die and drawing metric dimension to the linescanning
The digital electronic output from the formed tube upward. At some concept leads to the practices of
the linescanner typically feeds a per-
sonal computer running software
that converts the stream of data into
a real-time moving image of the web

passing the detector assembly.

Because the human retina is not sen-
sitive to infrared radiation, the screen eb
of W
image is necessarily rendered in false i s t ance an
el D eC eb
Trav in On gW
color the hue of which corresponds ce Alon
a n
to the temperature of the specific Dist
Width o
f Web
The linescan output converts the
traditional plot of temperature ver- Figure 6-2: 1-D Scans Composited Into a 2-D Image
sus time into a three-axis measure-
ment of temperature as a function of point as the plastic rises it solidifies two-dimensional thermographic
time and location across the web of at what is called the frost line. analysis. Two-dimensional figures are
material (Figure 6-2). The scanner Additional cooling must occur so planes exhibiting only length and
“maps” the “thermal terrain” moving that the plastic sheeting achieves the width but no height. The two-dimen-
below the detector assembly. As is proper temperature as it enters the sional plane in question is the view
typical of false color thermographic overhead takeup rolls. you see with your own eyes. The ther-
output, the electronics assigns the Maintaining a proper temperature mographic equipment in question is
color of a given screen pixel on the profile of the moving plastic is criti- an infrared camera comparable in size
basis of the temperature implied by cal to eliminating functional and aes- to a video camera (Figure 6-3).
the measured infrared radiation. thetic defects in the sheeting. Devices used for thermographic
Mounting a scanner to monitor the analysis generally fall into two broad
rising plastic gives the operators classes. Radiometry devices are used
• Linescanner Applications instant information about the precise for precise temperature measure-
Linescanning technology offers location of the frost line and other ment. The second, called viewing
industry an opportunity to optimize temperature-related information in devices, are not designed for quantita-
thermally-based processes. For real-time. tive measurements but rather for qual-
example, plastic thermoforming fab- A similar approach is used in the itative comparisons. A viewer only
rication requires heating a plastic glass industry. Glass sheets are heat tells you that one object is warmer
sheet using an array of heaters. The treated to give them the required than another, whereas radiometry tells
temperature is critical if the vacuum strength. As the glass moves on a you that one object is, for instance,
molding process is to successfully conveyor belt, electric heaters raise 25.4 degrees warmer than the other
form pleats, deeply drawn recesses, its temperature as uniformly as possi- with an accuracy in the neighborhood
and sharp corners in the completed ble. After a suitable holding time in of 2 degrees or 2 percent.
piece part. A high-resolution lines- the oven, the glass sheet is cooled Whereas a standard video camera
canner, used in a closed-loop config- uniformly with compressed air. In this responds to visible light radiating
uration to control the output of the process are all the elements from the object in view, thermo-

Linescanning & Thermography 6

graphic units responds to the object’s detector in sequence. The electron- of a window at night. If the room
infrared radiation. The scene through ics that captures data is synchronized lights are on, it is difficult to see
the camera’s viewfinder is presented with the mirror so that no thermal clearly because there is too much
in false colors designed to convey information is lost or garbled. One of visible light coming from the room
temperature information. the problems with the single detec- itself. Turning the lights off makes it
Specular surfaces, especially tor approach is dwell time. Scanning much easier to see outside. Similarly,
metallic ones, reflect infrared radia- a 120 x 120 pixel image with a spin- accurately measuring the tempera-
tion. The image of a shiny metal sur- ning mirror does not give any single ture can be difficult if the camera
face viewed through an infrared cam- pixel very much time to register a parts surrounding the detector are
era contains thermal information reading on the detector. giving off too much infrared radia-
inherent to and radiated by the sur- The newest thermal imaging sys- tion. A cooler detector is equivalent
face as well as thermal information tems eliminate the need for the spin- to turning off the lights in the room.
about the surroundings reflected by ning mirror by replacing the single Infrared imaging technology relies on
the surface. When monitoring the point detector with a solid-state a refrigerated detector. The earliest
temperature of a transparent object, detector that continuously “stares” thermography cameras used lique-
the optical system may pick up a at the entire image coming through fied gases to cool the detector.
third source of radiation—that trans- the lens. Dwell time is no longer an Certainly the technology was new
mitted through from objects on the issue because the scene coming and the operating refinements were
other side. Modern imagers have through the optics maps directly on crude. As you can imagine, the early
emissivity controls that adjust the the active surface of the focal plane units were not all that portable. The
response of the unit so that it reads array detector. Using the focal plan key element of contemporary
accurately. (See p. 72 for emissivity array technology brings several bene- radiometers is a sufficiently small,
tables of common materials.) fits to the user. battery-operated Stirling cycle
The compact size of thermograph- The most obvious benefit is fewer engine to keep the detectors cold.
ic imagers eliminates the need for moving parts in the camera. Fewer There are two common methods
tripods and other factors that limit parts leads to higher reliability and for cooling the detector chip. A
mobility. In fact, in an industrial set- almost certainly higher durability Stirling cycle engine provides the
ting, the technician using the hand- against physical abuse and other cryogenic cooling required by precise
held imager may well be reading hazards of the workplace. The radiometry devices. Thermoelectric
temperatures or capturing images newer thermal imagers are smaller cooling provides the temperature
while walking around. Doing so can and lighter than their predecessors. stabilization required by a viewer. In
be dangerous since the user’s atten- In fact, the latest infrared imagers cryogenic cooling, the detector is
tion is on data collection and not on are of a size not much larger than chilled to around -200°C, whereas
environmental trip hazards. For that the smallest of the modern hand- temperature stabilization requires
reason, imagers do not have the typ- held video camera. cooling the detector to somewhere
ical “eyepiece” found on a video The resolution of the focal plan near room temperature.
cameras. Imagers use, instead, a 4- array—a minimum of 320 x 244 pix- Depending on the design of the
inch flat panel display, typically a els—is much greater than that detector, the stabilization tempera-
color liquid crystal display. offered by the single detector mod- ture may be in the range of 20 to 30°
els. A finer resolution leads directly C or it may be at the Curie temper-
to being able to discern smaller “hot ature in the range of 45-60°C.
• Detectors Options spots” in the field of view. Operating at the Curie temperature
The earliest thermal imaging systems offers better sensitivity to the
featured a single detector and a spin- incoming infrared radiation. In
ning mirror that scanned the image • Detector Cooling either case, the temperatures must
coming through the lens of the cam- The detector in either type of imager be constant from reading to reading
era and focused the pixels of the must be cooled if it is to work prop- if the imager is to provide consis-
two-dimensional image on the erly. This is analogous to looking out tent and reproducible results. As an

6 Linescanning & Thermography

aside, in common industry parlance, manufacturing process. Until the plane arrays have multiple detector
units that rely on thermoelectric production problems find a solution, elements on a single detector chip
cooling are referred to as the cost of the high-performance that map directly to the aperture of
“uncooled” units relative to cryo- uncooled detectors will remain on a the optical system. High spatial reso-
genically cooled devices. par with cryogenic units and their lution means the camera can distin-
Stirling engines. guish between two closely spaced
There is one true “instant on” unit items. Temperature resolution refers
• The Stirling Engine that depends on pyroelectric arrays to the ability of the camera to distin-
In 1816, Robert Stirling developed for the detector elements. These guish temperature differences
what is called in thermodynamic imagers require absolutely no cool- between two items. Temperature res-
terms a closed-cycle regenerable ing but they require a constantly olution is a function of the type of
external combustion engine. This changing image signal. If the scene detector element; spatial resolution
machine produces no waste exhaust presented to the lens does not is a function of the number of detec-
gas, uses a diversity of heat sources change, the camera ceases to resolve tor elements.
to power it, remains quiet during any image at all. Imagers based on Specification sheets for infrared
operation, and has a high theoretical the pyroelectric principle are suit- imagers give the spatial resolution in
thermal efficiency. The Stirling cycle able for viewer use only, not radiom- terms of milliradians of solid angle
consists of four steps: heating at con- etry. However, it is possible to use a (Figure 6-5). The milliradian value is
stant volume, isothermal expansion, point detector aligned with the cen- related to the theoretical object area
cooling at constant volume, and terline of the image to record one covered by one pixel in the instanta-
isothermal compression (Figure 6-4). temperature to represent the entire neous field of view. Obviously, at
The device converts heat into its frame. Because the pyroelectric ele- greater distances more of the object
equivalent amount of mechanical ment is piezoelectric, it generates an area maps to a single pixel and a larg-
work. In effect, one obtains shaft extraneous signal in response to er area means less precise thermal
work by heating the engine. vibration of the camera housing. information about any single ele-
Fortunately, the Stirling cycle is a Such sensitivity requires that the ment in that larger area.
reversible thermodynamic process, units be shock mounted to damp out
and mechanical work can be used to the vibrations.
produce a cooling effect. • Applications of Thermography
This need for cooling is a limita- An effective predictive maintenance
tion only in the sense that one can- • Spatial, Temperature Resolution program implies the need to collect
not achieve true “instant on” with an There are two types of thermograph- sometimes rather sophisticated data
infrared imager. Cryogenic cooling ic detector resolution to be distin- from productive assets located
requires five to nine minutes to guished. First is spatial resolution. around the plant floor. A plant main-
achieve the very low temperatures The detector assemblies in focal tenance technician normally follows
required for the detector to respond.
Thermoelectric cooling, on the other
hand takes about one minute or less.

False Color Image

• Other Detector Developments

Soon, researchers are expected to
produce less expensive uncooled
radiometric detectors with sensitivi-
ty and resolution at least as good as Area
today’s cryogenic units. One of the Two Dimensional Being
Thermograph Scanned
problems to be surmounted is the
relatively low yields in the detector Figure 6-3: 2-D Thermographic Camera

Linescanning & Thermography 6

a predetermined route and visiting scene is somewhat of an art. If the Watching a part “age” may be of
plant assets in a specific sequence. object is in the path of the heated or great value to the plant maintenance
This makes data collection as effi- cooled air issuing from an HVAC sys- department in predicting the expect-
cient as possible. At each asset, the tem, the readings will be skewed. It ed failure date for a machine compo-
technician collects data from dis- may make more sense to return after nent. Being able to trend thermal
crete sensors while working from a sundown or to shut down the HVAC data as a function of time is one way
check list so as not to miss a reading. system to gather meaningful data. to watch the aging process. The soft-
In the case of thermography, the data Analysts need common sense, as ware package that processes the
consists of one or more images of well. Modern cameras offer resolu- thermal data from the camera can
the relevant machine parts. A bare tions of a fraction of a degree. produce a graph of the time-series
bones infrared camera is nothing temperature data corresponding to
more than a data collector. Raw ther- the same point in the infrared image
mal data is of little value; it is what • Data Analysis Tools of the plant asset. The analyst simply
one does with the data that makes Some thermal imagers work in con- moves a spot meter to the part of
the difference. junction with on-board microproces- the image to be trended and the
After the thermographic data col- sors and specialized software that temperature data for that spot links
lection is complete, the technician give the user the ability to quickly to a spreadsheet cell.
or the data analyst evaluates the prepare diagnostic reports. In fact, These enhancements to the basic
images for evidence of thermal downloading the field data to a thermographic technology continue
anomalies that indicates a need for desktop PC frees the technician to to make the IR imagers easier to use.
either scheduled or immediate continue gathering data while the With a few hours of training, even a
repair. If maintenance work is war- analyst prepares a report. But, report novice can generate excellent thermal
ranted, the analyst prepares a report preparation is not the only enhance- scans that capture all the thermal
both to justify to others the need to ment to standard infrared picture. information present in a given scene.
spend money for repairs and to Some thermal imagers simplify
retain as part of the permanent work for the user by making it possi-
records for the given plant asset. ble to annotate thermal images with • Industrial Applications
voice messages stored digitally with Electrical wiring involves many dis-
the digital image itself. Some units crete physical connections between
• Framing the Image automate the process of setting the cables and various connectors, and
A certain level of skill and experience controls to permit the camera to between connectors and mounting
aided by common sense is a prime capture the best, most information- studs on equipment. The hallmark
requisite in gathering and analyzing rich thermal image as long as the of a high-quality electrical connec-
thermographic data. The technician view is in clear focus. tion is very low electrical resistance
using the imager in the field must be
aware of reflections of irrelevant
heat sources that appear to be com-
ing from the object being scanned. 3
Physically moving the imager to the 3 4
left or right could make a dramatic
difference in the apparent tempera-
ture of the object. The difference is
caused by the reflections of shop 2
4 TL 2 1
floor lighting fixtures, sunlight
through windows, and other extrane- 1
ous sources. V S
As with taking snapshots with a
single lens reflex camera, framing the Figure 6-4: The Stirling Cycle

6 Linescanning & Thermography

S = RΘk
S = Spot Diameter
R R = Distance to Target
Θ = Imaging Spot Resolution [=] Milliradians
k = Constant Based on Units of Measure for S & R

k Values Distance Units
Feet Meters
Spot Milli- 0.305 1.000
Size meters

Units Inches 0.012 0.039

Figure 6-5: Spatial Resolution of a Thermographic Camera

between the items joined by the ture difference among the three con- roofing contractor to repair.
connection. Continued electrical nections. Thermographic cameras can Because thermography is a non-
efficiency depends on this low con- illustrate this imbalance quite easily contact measurement method, it
tact resistance. and dramatically. Consider, for a makes possible the inspection of
Passing a current through an electri- moment, the ease with which a ther- mechanical systems and components
cal resistor of any sort dissipates mographer can inspect overhead in real time without shutting down
some of the electrical power. The dis- electrical connections or pole- the underlying production line.
sipated power manifests itself as heat. mounted transformers from a remote, Energy constitutes a major cost in
If the quality of the connection safe place on the ground. most manufacturing plants. Every
degrades, it becomes, in effect, an Thermography also finds use in wasted BTU represents a drain on
energy dissipating device as its electri- inspecting the building envelope. It plant profitability. Thermography
cal resistance increases. With can locate sections of wall that have lends itself to eliminating the energy
increased resistance, the connector or insufficient insulation. It can also spot loss related to excessive steam con-
joint exhibits a phenomenon called differences in temperatures that indi- sumption and defective steam traps.
ohmic heating. Electricians and main- cate air leaks around window and If steam is leaking through a steam
tenance technicians use the thermo- door frames. Thermal imaging is use- trap, it heats the downstream con-
graphic camera to locate these hot ful for inspecting roofs as well. densate return piping. The heated
spots in electrical panels and wiring. If a defect in the outermost roof section of piping is clearly visible to
The heated electrical components membrane admits rain water that an infrared imager.
appear as bright spots on a thermo- gets trapped between the layers Heat loss to the surrounding envi-
gram of the electrical panel. making up the roof, the thermal con- ronment is a function of temperature
Three-phase electrical equipment ductivity of the waterlogged section of the inside temperature. The heat
connects to the power supply of roof is greater than that of the sur- loss increases nonlinearly with
through three wires. The current rounding areas. Because the thermal increased temperature because radi-
through each wire of the circuit conductivity differs, so does the ant losses can easily exceed convec-
should be equal in magnitude. temperature of the outer roof mem- tive and conductive losses at higher
However, it is possible to have an brane. An infrared camera can easily temperatures. For example, the
unbalance in the phases. In this case, detect such roof problems. A ther- refractory block installed inside of a
the current in one of the phases dif- mal scan of the roof and a can of kiln, boiler, or furnace is intended to
fers significantly from the others. spray paint is all that is needed to minimize heat loss to the environ-
Consequently, there exists a tempera- identify possible roof defects for a ment. Thermography can quickly

Linescanning & Thermography 6

locate any refractory defects. urgently needed resources of man- to simplify process setup, a feature
Another application for the technol- power and fire-retardant chemicals. especially valuable when changing
ogy is a blast furnace, with its mas- Corporate research and develop- products in the processing line.
sive amount of refractory. ment rely on radiometric thermogra- Contemporary thermographic
The location of the blockage in a phy, as well. Auto makers use the units use 12-bit dynamic range archi-
plugged or frozen product transfer technology to optimize the perfor- tecture. This is the practical mini-
line can sometimes be detected with mance of windshield defrosting sys- mum if radiometry is to capture all
thermography. If the level indicator tems and rear window defoggers. the thermal information that the
on a storage tank fails, thermography Semiconductor manufacturers use it scene contains. It allows the analyst
can reveal the level of the inventory to analyze operational failures in to position a set of crosshairs on a
in the tank. computer chips. single pixel and determine the pre-
Thermography finds further use cise temperature that it represents.
in the inspection of concrete bridge The microprocessor also makes
decks and other paved surfaces. The Enter the Microprocessor interpreting the thermogram easier.
defects in question are voids and Microprocessors and the software The analyst can spread the color
delamination in and among the var- behind thermography units are palette across the full range of tem-
ious layers of paving materials. The important to the versatility of the peratures represented by the ther-
air or water contained within the technology. Digital control and high- mogram. For instance, when
interlaminar spaces of the pavement speed communication links give inspecting a roof in July, the temper-
slab affects its overall thermal con- thermographic devices the intercon- ature of every point in the scene is
ductivity. The IR imager can detect nectivity and signal processing high and the difference in tempera-
these defects. expected in a digital manufacturing ture between sound areas and
Painted surfaces become multilay- environment. For example, the lines- defects is relative small, perhaps 20
er composites when a bridge or stor- canner output can be subdivided degrees. On the other hand, pro-
age tank has been repainted numer- into several segments or zones, each duction process may well mean that
ous times during its service life. Here, corresponding to a portion of the parts of the scene are 250 degrees
too, the possibility of hidden rust, width of the moving web. Each of (or more) warmer than the back-
blistering, cracking, and other delami- these zones can provide individual 4- ground objects. In either case, the
nation defects between adjacent 20 mA control and alarm signals to analyst can spread 256 colors across
paint layers make objective visual the process machinery. the 20-degree and the 250-degree
inspection difficult. A technique Because the thermal data is digi- range in the scene to generate a
called transient thermography returns tized, it is easy to store the optimum usable picture. T
objectivity to the evaluation of a thermograph for use as a standard of
potentially costly repainting project. comparison. This standard thermal
Transient thermography entails image—the golden image— is used
using a pulse of thermal energy, sup-
plied by heat lamps, hot air blowers,
engine exhaust, or some similar References and Further Reading
source of energy, to heat the surface • Applications of Thermal Imaging, S.G. Burnay, T.L. Williams, and C.H. Jones
from behind for a short period of (editor), Adam Higler, 1988.
time. Because the imager detects • Infrared Thermography, (Microwave Technology, Vol. 5), G. Gaussorgues
temperature differentials of less than and S. Chomet (translator), Chapman & Hall, 1994.
a degree, voids and delaminations • An International Conference on Thermal Infrared Sensing for Diagnostics
become readily apparent. and Control, (Thermosene Vii), Andronicos G. Kantsios (editor), SPIE, 1985.
Forestry departments use ther- • Nondestructive Evaluation of Materials by Infrared Thermography, Xavier
mography to monitor the scope and P.V. Maldague, Springer Verlag, 1993.
range of forest fires to most effi- • Practical Applications of Infrared Thermal Sensing and Imaging Equipment
ciently deploy the valuable, limited, (Tutorial Texts in Optical Engineering, Vol. 13), Herbert Kaplan, SPIE, 1993



IR Thermometer Calibration
Why Calibrate?
Blackbody Cavities

IR Thermometer Calibration Tungsten Filament Lamps

ecause of normal variations than 0.1% accuracy is seldom use a commercial blackbody simula-

B in the properties of materials

used to construct radiation
temperature sensors, new
instruments must be individually cal-
ibrated in order to achieve even
achieved. This arises, in part, from
the difficulty in accurately deter-
mining the emissivity of real bodies.
Repeatability or reproducibility is,
however, more readily achievable
tor, an isothermally heated cavity
with a relatively small aperture
through which the radiation ther-
mometer is sighted (Figure 7-1). As
explained in the earlier chapter on
moderate levels of accuracy. Initial than absolute accuracy, so don’t “Theoretical Development,” this
calibration is likely to be performed pay more if consistency will do. type of configuration approaches
by the sensor manufacturer, but peri- If absolute accuracy is a concern, blackbody performance and its
then traceability to standards such as emissivity approaches unity. A stan-
those maintained by the National dard thermocouple or resistance
Institute of Standards & Technology temperature detector (RTD) inside
(NIST) will also be important. the cavity is used as the tempera-
Traceability, through working to sec- ture reference. At higher tempera-
ondary to primary standards is cen- tures, calibrated tungsten filament
tral to the quality standards compli- lamps are commonly used as refer-
ance such as those defined by the ences. A final alternative is to used a
ISO 9000 quality standard. reference pyrometer whose calibra-
Working much like a hot plate, this infrared cali- tion is known to be accurate, adjust-
bration source uses a high emissivity, specially tex- ing the output of the instrument
tured surface to provide a convenient temperature
Why Calibrate? being calibrated until it matches.
There are generally three methods In any case, the radiation source
of calibrating industrial radiation must completely fill the instrument’s
odic recalibration—in-house or by a thermometers. One method is to field of view in order to check the
third-party laboratory or the original
manufacturer—is necessary if any but Back Thermocouple Front Thermocouple
the most qualitative measurements
are expected.
The ongoing accuracy of a non-
contact temperature sensor will
depend on the means by which the
calibration is performed, how fre-
quently it is recalibrated, as well as
the drift rate of the overall system. Sphere
Ensuring the absolute accuracy of
non-contact temperature measure-
ment devices is more difficult than
with most direct contacting
devices, such as thermocouples and Control
resistance temperature detectors Thermocouple
(RTDs). Limiting the absolute accu-
racy to 1% is difficult; even in the
most sophisticated set-ups, better Figure 7-1: A Spherical Blackbody Cavity

IR Thermometer Calibration 7

calibration output. If the field of

view is not filled, the thermometer
will read low. In some instruments,
calibration against a blackbody refer-
ence standard may be internal—a
chopper is used to alternate
between exposing the detector to
the blackbody source and the sur-
face of interest. Effectively, this pro-
vides continuous recalibration and
helps to eliminate errors due to drift.

Blackbody Cavities
Because calibration of a non-contact
temperature sensor requires a source
of blackbody radiation with a precise
means of controlling and measuring A handheld IR thermometer is calibrated against a commercial blackbody source—the internal cavity
the temperature of the source, the is designed to closely approach a blackbody’s unity emissivity.
interior surface of a heated cavity
constitutes a convenient form, since couple must be the same tempera- approached (Figure 7-2). Although
the intensity of radiation from it is ture as the cavity. Essentially, the the spherical cavity is the most com-
essentially independent of the mate- blackbody calibration reference con- monly referenced shape, carefully
rial and its surface condition. sists of a heated enclosure with a proportioned cone- or wedge-
In order for a blackbody cavity to small aperture through which the shaped cavities also can approach
work appropriately, the cavity must interior surface can be viewed (Figure unity emissivity.
be isothermal; its emissivity must be 7-1). In general, the larger the enclo- In order to provide isothermal sur-
known or sufficiently close to unity; sure relative to the aperture, the roundings for the cavity, the follow-
and the standard reference thermo- more nearly unity emissivity is ing materials commonly are used:
• Stirred water bath for 30-100°C (86-
212°F) temperature ranges;
1.0 0.95
• Aluminum core for 50-400°C (122-
752°F) temperature ranges; and
0.8 • Stainless steel core for 350-1000°C
(662-1832°F) temperature ranges.
Effective Emissivity, ε

0.7 And while blackbody cavities

0.6 have their appeal, they also have
0.5 some disadvantages. Some portable,
battery-operated units can be used
0.4 at low temperatures (less than
0.3 100°C), but blackbody cavities are,
φ Cavity Surface
for the most part, relatively cum-
bersome and expensive. They also
0.1 can take a long time to reach ther-
mal equilibrium (30 minutes or
more), slowing the calibration pro-
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180
Aperture Angle, φ (Deg) cedure significantly if a series of
Figure 7-2: Effective Emissivity of Spherical Cavities measurements is to be made.

7 IR Thermometer Calibration

Lamps, however, must be calibrat- ment current is used to balance stan-

ed in turn against a blackbody stan- dard lamp brightness against the
dard; the user typically is provided goldpoint temperature in a black-
with the relationship between elec- body furnace, in accordance with the
tric current to the filament and its ITS-90. Typical uncertainties range
temperature. Emissivity varies with from ±4°C at the gold point to ± 40°C
temperature and with wavelength, at 4000°C.
but material is well understood In secondary standard calibration,
enough to convert apparent tem- the output of a primary pyrometer,
peratures to actual. i.e., one calibrated at NIST, is com-
Nickel Just as a blackbody cavity includes pared with the output of a sec-
Support a NIST-traceable reference thermo- ondary pyrometer when sighted
couple, instrument calibration against alternately on a tungsten strip lamp.
a ribbon lamp also can be traced to Many systematic errors cancel out in
NIST standards. In a primary calibra- this procedure and make it more
Ceramic tion, done mostly by NIST itself, fila- practical for routine calibration. T

References and Further Reading

Figure 7-3: Typical Tungsten Lamp Filament • Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press, 1997.
• New Horizons in Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press, 1996.
• Temperature Measurement in Engineering, H. Dean Baker, E. A. Ryder, and
Tungsten Filaments N. H. Baker, Omega Press, 1975.
As a working alternative to black- • The Detection and Measurement of Infrared Radiation, R.A. Smith, F. E.
body cavities, tungsten ribbon lamps, Jones, and R. P. Chasmar, Oxford at Clarendon Press, 1968.
or tungsten strip lamps, are com- • Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Engineering
monly used as standard sources Co., 1997.
(Figure 7-3). Tungsten strip lamps are • Infrared Thermography (Microwave Technology, Vol 5), G. Gaussorgues
highly reproducible sources of radi- and S. Chomet (translator), Chapman & Hall, 1994.
ant energy and can be accurately cal- • Instrument Engineers’ Handbook, Third Edition, B. Liptak, Chilton Book
ibrated in the 800°C to 2300°C range. Co. (CRC Press), 1995.
They yield instantaneous and accu- • Process/Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook, 4th ed., Douglas
rate adjustment and can be used at M. Considine, McGraw-Hill, 1993.
higher temperatures than those read- • Theory and Practice of Radiation Thermometry, David P. DeWitt and
ily obtainable with most cavities. Gene D. Nutter, John Wiley & Sons, 1988.



Products & Applications
Alternative Configurations
Application Guidelines
Accessories & Options
Products & Applications
hile many of the earlier Alternative Configurations wavelength instrument.

W chapters of this volume

have explored
physics and technology
behind non-contact temperature
measurement, now it’s time to delve
The user can select among non-con-
tact temperature sensors that operate
over just about any desired wave-
length range, both wide and narrow.
Radiation thermometer sensitivity
Radiation thermometer optics are
usually the fixed focus type,
although designs with through-the-
lens focusing are available for mea-
suring over longer distances. Fixed
into the wide array of products that varies inversely proportionally with focus devices can also be used to
are available to take advantage of wavelength. Therefore, an instrument measure at long distances if the tar-
radiation phenomena—and how operating at 5 microns only has one- get area is smaller than the lens
they’re applied to industrial use. fifth the sensitivity of an instrument diameter in the optical system.
Non-contact temperature sensors operating at 1 micron. This also means Non-contact temperature sensors
allow engineers to obtain accurate that optical noise and uncertainties in range from relatively inexpensive
temperature measurements in appli- emissivity will result in measurement infrared thermocouples, priced from
cations where it is impossible or very errors five times greater in the long about $99, to sophisticated, comput-
difficult to use any other kind of sen-
sor. In some cases, this is because the Table 8-1: Strengths and Weaknesses of Non-Contact Temperature Sensors
application itself literally destroys a INSTRUMENT TYPE STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
contact-type sensor, such as when IR Thermocouple Inexpensive (from $99) Nonlinear output
using a thermocouple or resistance Self-powered Susceptible to EMI
temperature detector to measure No measurement drift
molten metal. If the electrical inter- Plugs into standard thermocouple
display and control devices
ference is intense, such as in induc-
Reaches into inaccessible areas
tion heating, the electromagnetic
Intrinsically safe
field surrounding the object will
Low-End IR Portable
and convenient Maximum probe cable length of 1 m
cause inaccurate results in conven- Pyrometer/ limits use
Inexpensive (from $235)
tional sensors. A remote infrared sen- Thermometer
Excellent maintenance tool
sor is immune to both problems.
For maintenance, no other sensor High-End IR Can focus on any target at almost Measures only a fixed spot on target
Thermometer any distance
is able to provide long-distance, non- Accuracy affected by smoke, dust, etc.
Portable or fixed-place operation in line of sight
contact temperature measurements
Camera-like operation (point and shoot) Affected by EMI
needed to find hot spots or trouble
Low to medium cost (from $350)
areas in distillation columns, vessels, Fiber Optic Works in hostile, high-temperature, vacuum Fairly expensive ($1600-$2600)
insulation, pipes, motors or trans- or inaccessible locations
Fixed Focus
formers. As a maintenance and trou- Can bypass opaque barriers to reach target
bleshooting tool, it’s difficult to beat Unaffected by EMI
a hand-held radiation thermometer. Two-Color Sees through smoke, dust and other Fairly expensive (from $3600 for sensor,
contaminants in line of sight and $5000 for display/controller)
Although non-contact temperature
Independent of target emissivity
sensors vary widely in price, they
Linescanner Only sensor that makes full-width Very expensive (from $10,000 for sensor
include the same basic components: temperature measurements across product alone, $50,000 for complete system)
collecting optics, lens, spectral filter Measures continuously as product passes by
and detector. For more detailed tech- Computer can produce thermographic
nical information on each sensor type, images of entire product and its
temperature profile
see the previous chapters.

8 Products & Applications

er-based $50,000 linescanners. In

between is a wide variety of hand-held
and permanently mounted measuring
systems that meet just about any tem-
perature monitoring need imaginable.

• Infrared Thermocouples
An infrared thermocouple is an
unpowered, low-cost sensor that
measures surface temperature of
materials without contact. It can be
directly installed on conventional
thermocouple controllers, trans-
mitters and digital readout devices Typical fiber optic probe, transmitter, and bench top display.
as if it were a replacement thermo-
couple. An infrared thermocouple and reads the temperature on the • Fiber Optics Extensions
can be installed in a fixed, perma- digital display. These devices are When the object to be measured is
nent location, or used with a hand- ideal for making point temperature not in the line of sight of a radiation
held probe. measurements on circuit boards, thermometer, a fiber optic sensor
Because it is self-powered, it bearings, motors, steam traps or any can be used. The sensor includes a
relies on the incoming infrared radi- other device that can be reached tip, lens, fiber optic cable, and a
ation to produce a signal via ther- with the probe. The inexpensive remote monitor unit mounted up to
moelectric effects. Therefore, its devices are self-contained and run 30 ft away. The sensor can be placed
output follows the rules of radia- off battery power. in high energy fields, ambient tem-
tion thermal physics, and is subject Other radiation thermometers are peratures up to 800°F, vacuum, or in
to nonlinearities. But over a given hand-held or mounted devices that otherwise inaccessible locations
range of temperatures, the output is include a lens similar to a 35mm cam- inside closed areas.
sufficiently linear that the signal can era. They can be focused on any
be interchanged with a convention- close or distant object, and will take • Two-Color Systems
al thermocouple. an average temperature measure- For use in applications where the tar-
Although each infrared thermo- ment of the “spot” on the target that get may be obscured by dust, smoke
couple is designed to operate in a fits into its field of view. or similar contaminants, or changing
specific region, it can be used out- Handheld radiation thermometers emissions as in “pouring metals,” a
side that region by calibrating the are widely used for maintenance and two-color or ratio radiation ther-
readout device accordingly. troubleshooting, because a techni- mometer is ideal. It measures tem-
cian can carry one around easily, perature independently of emissivity.
focus it on any object in the plant, Systems are available with fiber optic
• Radiation Thermometers/Pyrometers and take instant temperature read- sensors, or can be based on a fixed or
Radiation thermometers, or pyrome- ings of anything from molten metals hand-held configurations.
ters, as they are sometimes called to frozen foods.
come in a variety of configurations. When mounted in a fixed position,
One option is a handheld radiation thermometers are often • Linescanners
display/control unit, plus an used to monitor the manufacturing A linescanner provides a “picture” of
attached probe. The operator points of glass, textiles, thin-film plastic and the surface temperatures across a
the probe at the object being mea- similar products, or processes such as moving product, such as metal slabs,
sured—sometimes getting within a tempering, annealing, sealing, bend- glass, textiles, coiled metal or plas-
fraction of an inch of the surface— ing and laminating. tics. It includes a lens, a rotating mir-

Products & Applications 8

• Portable vs. Mounted and spot measurements of critical

Non-contact temperature measure- processes.
ment devices also can be classified as Portable devices include pyrome-
portable or permanently mounted. ters, thermometers and two-color
Fixed mount thermometers are gen- systems. Their only practical applica-
erally installed in a location to con- tion limit is the same as a human
tinuously monitor a process. They operator; i.e., the sensors will function
often operate on AC line power, and in any ambient temperature or envi-
are aimed at a single point. Measured ronmental condition where a human
data can be viewed on a local or can work, typically 32-120°F (0-50°C).
remote display, and an output signal At temperature extremes, where
(analog or digital) can be provided an operator wears protective cloth-
for use elsewhere in the control ing, it may be wise to similarly pro-
loop. Fixed mount systems generally tect the instrument. In shirt-sleeve
consist of a housing containing the manufacturing or process control
optics system and detector, connect- applications, hand-held instruments
ed by cable to a remote mounted can be used without worrying about
Hand-held IR thermometers include such electronics/display unit. In some the temperature and humidity, but
options as laser sights. loop-powered designs, all the ther- care should be taken to avoid
mometer components and electron- sources of high electrical noise.
ror that scans across the lens’ field of ics are contained in a single housing; Induction furnaces, motor starters,
view, a detector that takes readings the same two wires used to power large relays and similar devices that
as the mirror rotates, and a comput- the thermometer also carry the 4 to generate EMI can affect the readings
er system to process the data. 20 mA output signal. of a portable sensor.
As the mirror rotates, the line Battery powered, hand-held “pis- Portable non-contact sensors are
scanner takes multiple measure- tol” radiation thermometers typical- widely used for maintenance and
ments across the entire surface, ly have the same features as perma- troubleshooting. Applications vary
obtaining a full-width temperature nently mounted devices, but without from up-close testing of printed cir-
profile of the product. As the prod- the output signal capability. Portable cuit boards, motors, bearings, steam
uct moves forward under the sensor, units are typically used in mainte- traps and injection molding
successive scans provide a profile of nance, diagnostics, quality control, machines, to checking temperatures
the entire product, from edge to
edge and from beginning to end.
The computer converts the profile Surroundings
into a thermographic image of the
product, using various colors to rep-
resent temperatures, or it can pro-
duce a “map” of the product. The 50 Thermometer
or so measurement points across the
width can be arranged in zones, aver-
aged, and used to control upstream
devices, such as webs, cooling sys-
tems, injectors or coating systems.
Linescanners can be extremely Target
expensive, but they offer one of the Atmosphere
Emission and
only solutions for obtaining a com- Absorption
plete temperature profile or image
of a moving product. Figure 8-1: Ambient Effects on IR Thermometer Accuracy

8 Products & Applications

remotely in building insulation, pip- nitrogen or shop air purging systems range is needed to sight on a large
ing, electrical panels, transformers, to keep lenses clean. target through a small opening in a
furnace tubes and manufacturing and furnace, a pyrometer in which target
process control plants. size increases rapidly with distance
Because an infrared device mea- Application Guidelines beyond the focal plane may be fit
sures temperature in a “spot” defined For first level sorting, consider speed the bill. Otherwise, a thermometer
by its field of view, proper aiming can of response, target size (field of with more sophisticated optics and
become critical. Low-end pyrome- view), and target temperature. Once signal conditioning may be required.
ters have optional LED aiming beams, the list of possible candidates for the If the temperature to be measured
and higher end thermometers have application has been narrowed, con- is below 750°F (400°C) a more sophis-
optional laser pointing devices to sider things like band pass and sensi- ticated pyrometer with optical
help properly position the sensor. tivity of the detector, transmission chopping can improve performance.
Permanently mounted devices are
generally installed on a manufactur-
ing or process control line, and out-
put their temperature signals to a
control or data acquisition system.
Radiation thermometers, two-color
sensors, fiber optics, infrared ther-
mocouples, and linescanners can all
be permanently mounted.
In a permanent installation, an
instrument can be very carefully
Hot Furnace Walls
aimed at the target, adjusted for the
exact emissivity, tuned for response
time and span, connected to a
remote device such as an indicator, Target
controller, recorder or computer, and Figure 8-2: Sighting on a Specular Surface
protected from the environment.
Once installed and checked out, quality of the optical system and If the surroundings between the
such an instrument can run indefi- transmission quality of any windows thermometer and the target are not
nitely, requiring only periodic main- or atmosphere in the sighting path, uniform, or if a hot object is present,
tenance to clean its lenses. emissivity of the target, ambient it is desirable to shield the field of
Instruments designed for perma- conditions, and the process dynam- view of the instrument so that these
nent installation are generally more ics (steady state variations or step phenomenon have minimal effect on
rugged than lab or portable instru- changes). These are shown graphical- the measurement.
ments, and have completely differ- ly in Figure 8-1. Any radiation absorbed or generat-
ent outputs. In general, systems that If 90% response to a step change ed by gases or particles in the sighting
operate near a process are ruggedi- in temperature is required in less path will affect measured target tem-
zed, have NEMA and ISO industrial- than a few seconds, pyrometers with perature. The influence of absorbing
rated enclosures, and output stan- thermal detectors may not be suit- media (such as water vapor) can be
dard process control signals such as able, unless you use thermopiles. A minimized by proper selection of the
4-20 mA dc, thermocouple mV sig- pyrometer with a photon detector wavelengths at which the thermome-
nals, 0-5 Vdc, or serial RS232C. may be a better choice. ter will respond. For example, a
For very hot or dirty environ- Thermometers with targets of 0.3 pyrometer with a silicon detector
ments, instruments can be equipped to 1 inch diameter with a focal dis- operates outside the absorption
with water or thermoelectric cooling tance of 1.5 to 3 feet from the lens bands of water vapor and the error is
to keep the electronics cool, and are common. If a target size in this nil. The influence of hot particles can

Products & Applications 8

be eliminated by ensuring they do not

enter the sighting path, or by peak or
valley picking, if they are transiently
present. A open ended sighting tube,
purged with a low temperature gas
can provide a sighting path free of
interfering particles.
Thermometers selected to mea- Hot Source Hot Source

sure transparent targets, such as

glass or plastic films, must operate Open End Sighting Tube
at a wavelength where the transmis-
sion of these materials is low so hot
objects behind the target do not
interfere with the measurement. For
example, most glass is opaque at
wavelengths above 5 microns if it is
3 mm or thicker. The emittance of Cooled Shield
glass decreases at higher wave-
lengths above 8 microns because of
its high reflection, so measurement
D Target
at higher wavelengths is not as H
desirable. If the incorrect band is
picked, the thermometer will sight
through the glass and not read the Figure 8-3: Use of Shielding and Cooling
surface temperature.
Imagine, for example, two ther- polished metals are inefficient, with typically lists their products with a
mometers measuring the surface emissivities of 20% or less. Tables only given temperature range and wave-
temperature of a lightbulb. One ther- give the emissivity of an ideal surface, length, with wavelengths listed in
mometer operates in the 8 to 14 and cannot deal with corrosion, oxi- microns. Note that more than one
micron range, and the other operates dation or surface roughness. In the wavelength can apply in any given
at 2 microns. The 8 to 14 micron real world, emissivity variations range application. For example, to measure
device reads the surface temperature from 2 to 100% per 100°F temperature glass, a wavelength of 3.43, 5.0 or 7.92
of the bulb as 90°C. The 2-micron change. When in doubt, obtain an microns can be used, depending on
device, sees through the surface of appropriate instrument and measure the depth you want to measure, the
the glass, to the filament behind, and the emissivity exactly. presence of tungsten lamps, or to
reads 494°C. • Temperature range—The emissivi- avoid reflections. Measuring plastic
Other parameters to consider ty and the range of expected tem- films presents the same problems.
when selecting a non-contact tem- peratures of the target determine the You may want to use a broad spec-
perature sensor include: wavelengths at which the target will trum to capture most of the radiant
• Target material—The composition emit efficiently. Choose a sensor that emissions of the target, or a limited
of a target determines its emissivity, is sensitive at those wavelengths. region to narrow the temperature
or the amount of thermal energy it Accuracy is listed as a percent of full range and increase accuracy. In many
emits. A blackbody is a perfect emit- scale or span, so the closer the tem- applications, various conditions and
ter, rated 1.0 or 100%. Other materials perature range to be measured can choices may exist. You may want to
are somewhat lower; their emissivity be specified, the closer sensor consult with your supplier.
can be anywhere from 0.01 to 0.99, or match, and the more accurate the • Atmospheric interference—What is
0-99%. Organic materials are very effi- final measurements. present in the atmosphere between
cient, with emissivities of 0.95, while • Wavelength choice—Manufacturers the sensor and the target? Most non-

8 Products & Applications

contact temperature sensors require cooling shield. The shield must be objects in the open, or tempera-
an environment that has no dust, large enough so that D/H ratio is 2 tures inside vessels, pipes and fur-
smoke, flames, mist or other contam- to 4. This method can not be used naces. The target may need to sight
inants in the sensor’s line of sight. If for slowly moving or stationary tar- through a window in the latter
contaminants exist, it may be neces- gets. An uncooled shield can be case. The thermometer, if perma-
sary to use a two-color sensor. If there used to block out radiation from a nently installed, can be mounted to
is an obstructed line of sight, it may be small, high temperature source that an adjacent pedestal, or attached
necessary to use a fiber optic probe to will not heat it significantly. to the vessel. Hardware is available
go around the obstacles. A closed end sight tube is an acces- from manufacturers to accomplish
• Operating Environment—Into sory that can be used to protect this. The thermometer housing may
what kind of environment will the optics and provide a clear sight path need to be protected from exces-
sensor itself be installed? If it is haz- for broadband thermometers. The sive heat via a cooling mechanism,
ardous, hot, humid, corrosive or one end of the tube reads the same and/or may require a continuous
otherwise unfriendly, it will be nec- temperature as the target (it may be clean gas purge to prevent dirt
essary to protect the instrument. touching the target or very close to it), accumulation. Hardware is option-
Lenses and cases are available to while cooling can be used to protect ally available for both needs.
withstand corrosives; air purge sys- the thermometer itself, at the other The accessories needed for diffi-
tems can protect lenses from end of the tube, from high tempera- cult applications, for example, to
process materials; and various cool- tures. A closed or open end sight tube permanently install a radiation ther-
ing systems are available to cool the can prevent attenuation of emitted mometer on the wall of a furnace,
lenses, optics and electronics. radiation by water vapor, dust, smoke, can easily escalate the cost of an
If the surrounding temperature is steam and radiation absorptive gases infrared thermometer into the thou-
the same as the target temperature, in the environment. sands of dollars, doubling the price
the indicated temperature from a Industrial applications invoke of the standard instrument. In Figure
radiation thermometer will be accu- either surface temperature of 8-4, for example, the thermocouple
rate. But if the target is hotter than
the surroundings, it may be desirable
to use a device with a high N* value
to minimize the emissivity error and Sight Tube
minimize radiation from the sur-
roundings reflected into the ther-
mometer. Two approaches can be Pipe
used when the target is at a lower Flange Sensor Head in
temperature than the surroundings. Protective Cooling
The first method, Figure 8-2, is pos- Silicon Carbide Jacket
Sight Tube
sible if the target is fixed, flat, and
reflects like a mirror. The ther-
mometer is arranged so that it sights
perpendicular to the target.
To measure the temperature of a
target with a matte surface, you Air Purge
Assembly End Cover
must shield the field of view of the
thermometer so that energy from Refactory Target Tube Safety Shutter
hot objects does not enter. One
approach, shown in Figure 8-3,
involves sighting the thermometer
through an open ended sighting
tube. The other approach is to use a Figure 8-4: Accessories for Furnace-Wall Installation
*Refer to page 25
Products & Applications 8

sensor head and its aiming tube are unfamiliar, the task can seem mind application, from -50 to 6,500°F . The
mounted inside a cooling jacket. The boggling. How do I get emissivity key is to identify the sensor that will
coolant flow required depends on data? Which wavelength(s) is best for do the best job. This can be a very
the actual ambient conditions which my application? What options do I simple or an extremely difficult
exist. Also shown are an air purge really need? .... and a thousand other choice. Perhaps some of the applica-
assembly, and a safety shutter. The questions easily come to mind. But tions listed below will give you a few
latter allows the furnace to be sealed help is available. For example, many ideas on how to use a non-contact
whenever the radiation thermometer manufacturers have open Internet temperature sensor in your plant.
must be removed. sights that contain an abundance of • Airplane Checkout—The sheer size
and height of a widebody 747 aircraft
makes it very difficult for technicians
to check the operation of various
Object devices, such as pitot tubes and
Temperature heating tapes used to warm pipes,
Background Temperature
water and waste tanks in various
Processor parts of the aircraft. Before, a techni-
cian had to climb a 25-ft ladder and
Sum of
Emitted touch the surfaces to see if the
And devices were working properly.
Signals Emissivity Now, a radiation thermometer is
Correction used during final assembly to check
the operation of various heating ele-
ments. The technician stands on the
ground, and aims the thermometer at
each pitot tube or heating element.
Boeing reports saving 4-5 construc-
tion hours on each jet.
• Asphalt—Asphalt is very sensitive
to temperature during preparation
and application. Thermocouples nor-
mally used to measure asphalt tem-
perature usually have severe breakage
problems because of the abrasiveness
Figure 8-5: Compensation for Elevated Ambient Temperatures of the material. Infrared thermocou-
ples are an ideal replacement.
If the target and the surroundings helpful information to assist the first The sensor can be mounted so
are not at the same temperature, time user in getting started. (See list that it views the asphalt through a
additional sensors, as shown in of resources, p. 68.) In addition, there small window in the chute, or slight-
Figure 8-5 need to be supplied. This are consultants, as well as the manu- ly above for viewing at a distance. In
configuration allows automatic facturers themselves, who can sup- either case, the sensor should have
compensation in the radiation ther- ply all the assistance needed to get an air purge to keep the lens clean
mometer electronics for the effects up and running quickly. from vapor or splashes. Plus, it can be
of the surroundings on the target connected to the control system as if
temperature reading. it was a thermocouple.
There is a lot to consider when • Industrial Applications • Electrical System Maintenance—
selecting and installing a non-con- In most cases, at least one of the sen- Infrared scanning services are
tact sensor to measure a critical sors we’ve discussed can be used to becoming widely available. Typically,
process temperature. And to the measure temperature in any kind of a scanning service brings in a

8 Products & Applications

portable imaging processor and face, while a 3.43 micron sensor can the transparent glass, or any reflected
scanner twice a year to check a see up to 0.3 in. into the glass. radiation from hot objects in front of
building’s switchgear, circuit breakers, The trick is to select a thermome- the glass. Aim the sensor at an angle
and other electrical systems. The ser- ter which is not adversely influenced that avoids reflections, or install an
vice looks for hot spots and temper- by thickness variations. Your best bet opaque shield to block the reflec-
ature differences. may be to send samples of glass tions at the source. If neither is possi-
Between visits, maintenance per- products to the thermometer manu- ble, use either of the higher wave-
sonnel can perform spot checks and facturer, and let them advise you on length sensors, because they are not
verify repairs with an inexpensive radi- what device to use. affected as much by reflections.
ation thermometer. Attaching a data During installation, select the aim- Be careful of applications where
logger lets a technician determine ing point so that the instrument the glass is heated with high inten-
heating trends of switchgear during doesn’t see any hot objects behind sity, tungsten filament quartz
peak periods, and identify the parts of
system that suffer the most when Table 8-2: Successful Radiation Thermometer Applications
electrical consumption goes up. MOUNTED
2 H L 2 H L
• Flame Cutting—In flame cutting, Cement Kilns • • • •
before a computer cuts various Burning zones, preheaters
shapes from steel plate, the steel Energy Conservation • •
surface has to be heated by a natur- Insulation and heat flow studies, thermal mapping
al gas or propane flame. When a Filaments • •
Annealing, drawing, heat treating
“puddle” of molten metal is detect-
Food • •
ed by the operator, oxygen is inject- Baking, candy-chocolate processing, canning freezing, frying,
ed into the gas stream. This blows mixing, packing, roasting
the molten metal through the plate Furnaces • • • •
flames, boiler tubes, catalytic crackers
and the cutting cycle begins. If oxy- Glass • • • • • •
gen is injected prematurely, it makes Drawing, manufacturing/processing bulbs, containers,
a defective cut, leaving an objec- TV tubes, fibers
tionable rough and wide pit-like Maintenance • •
Appliances, bearings, currentoverloads, drive shafts, insulation,
depression in the plate. power lines, thermal leakage detection
A fiber optic sensor can be mount- Metals (ferrous and nonferrous) • • • •
ed on the torch and aimed to look annealing, billet extrusion, brazing, carbonizing, casting,
forging, heat treating, inductive heating, rolling/strip mills,
through the gas stream at the plate sintering, smelting
Metals, Pouring •
surface. It will detect the proper plate
Quality Control • • • • • •
temperature for puddling, and inform printed circuit boards, soldering, universal joints,
the operator. welding, metrology

• Glass—An infrared thermometer is Paint
Coating, ink drying, printing, photographic emulsions, web profiles
ideal for measuring the temperature • •
of soda-lime-silica glass, predomi- Blow-molding, RIM, film extrusion, sheet thermoforming, casting
• •
nantly used in making sheet, plate, Plastic
and bottles. The biggest problem is Blow-molding, RIM, film extrusion, sheet thermoforming, casting
• • •
that glass has relatively poor thermal Remote Sensing
Clouds, earth surfaces, lakes, rivers, roads, volcanic surveys
• •
conductivity, so temperature gradi- Rubber
ents exist at various depths. The Calendaring, casting, molding, profile extrusion, tires, latex gloves
• • • •
three most commonly used wave- Silicon
Crystal growing, strand/fiber, wafer annealing, epitaxial deposition
lengths for measuring glass—3.43, 5.0, • •
and 7.92 microns—each see a differ- Curing, drying, fibers, spinning
• •
ent distance into the glass. A sensor Vacuum Chambers
Refining, processing, deposition
with 7.92 microns sees only the sur-
2=2-color sensor H=High Temperature L=Low Temperature

Products & Applications 8

lamps. These generate radiation wet porous surface with ambient air is outside, it will survive much
levels that interfere with ther- blowing across. When air moves longer in a very high temperature
mometers operating below 4.7 across a wet surface, water cools by environment than a conventional
microns. In this case, use a 7.92 evaporation until it reaches the wet- sensor will.
micron sensor. bulb temperature, and cooling stops. To install a radiation thermometer
• Glass Molds—The temperature of The sensor can be connected to a in a thermowell, mount it so it is
the mold or plunger used to make display that records the lowest tem- aimed directly into a hollow ther-
glass containers is critical: if too hot, perature, which is the wet-bulb tem- mowell, and adjust its distance so
the container may exit the mold and perature, and can be used to calcu- that its “spot size” is the same diam-
not retain its shape; if too cool, it late the relative humidity. eter as the thermowell. This way, the
may not mold properly. Molds must • Immersion Thermowells— sensor will monitor temperature at
be measured constantly to ensure Thermowells protrude into a high- the thermowell tip. If the thermowell
that cooling is proceeding correctly. pressure vessel, stack, pipe or reac- has a sight glass, select a sensor that
An infrared thermometer can be tor, allowing a temperature sensor can see through it.
used to take mold measurements. A to get “inside” while maintaining • Induction Heating—Measuring the
few suggestions: Don’t measure new process integrity. An infrared ther- temperature of an induction heating
molds. They are usually shiny and mocouple or fiber optic sensor can process can be accomplished with
clean, so they are reflective and have be positioned outside the ther- infrared thermocouples, thermome-
low emissivity. As they get older, mowell looking in, rather than being ters or fiber optic sensors.
An infrared thermocouple will
Table 8-3: Typical Application Temperature Ranges operate in the very strong electrical
APPLICATION TEMP. RANGES field surrounding induction heaters.
General purpose for textile, printing, food, rubber, thick plastics, paints, -50 to 1000°C Make sure the sensor’s shield wire is
laminating, maintenance -58 to 1832°F attached to a proper signal ground.
Life sciences, biology, zoology, botany, veterinary medicine, heat loss and research 0 to 500°C The preferred method is to view the
32 to 932°F
part between the coil turns or from
Thin film plastic, polyester, fluorocarbons, low temperature glass 50 to 600°C the end. If there is excessive heating
122 to 1112°F
on the sensor, use a water cooling
Glass and ceramic surfaces, tempering,annealing, sealing, bending and laminating 300 to 1500°C jacket (you can use the same water
572 to 2732°F
source used to cool the induction
See-through clean combustion flames and hot gases. Furnace tubes 500 to 1500°C coil).
932 to 2732°F
Fiber optic sensors should be
Medium to high temperature ferrous and non-ferrous metals. See-through glass 250 to 2000°C
482 to 3632°F mounted so the viewing end is
placed close to the target. The tip of
Hot and molten metals, foundries, hardening, forging, annealing, induction heating 600 to 3000°C
1112 to 5432°F the fiber can be positioned between
the induction coils. Replaceable
ceramic tips can be used to minimize
they get dull and non-reflective, and mounted inside the thermowell. damage and adverse effects from the
the emissivity becomes higher and Conventional sensors subjected to radio frequency field. If the fiber
more repeatable. Use a radiation constant high temperatures suffer won’t fit, use a lens system to moni-
thermometer with a short wave- metallurgical changes that affect tor the surface from a distance. Fiber
length, such as 0.9 microns, or a two- stability and drift. But the non-con- optic sensors are not normally
color instrument. tact sensors, because they are out- affected by induction energy fields,
• Humidity—An infrared thermocou- side, do not suffer such problems. but if the noise is excessively high,
ple can be used to measure relative They also respond more quickly; use a synchronous demodulation
humidity in any situation where essentially, the response time of a system. The demodulator converts
there is a convenient source of water radiation sensor is the same as the the 400 Hz ac signal from the detec-
and flowing air. Aim the device at a thermowell. Also, since the sensor tor head to dc, which is more

8 Products & Applications

immune to noise. nesses, a wavelength of 3.43 or 7.92 microns. In this case, use a 7.92
• Plastic Film—A film of plastic or microns will work for cellulose micron sensor.
polymer emits thermal radiation like acetate, polyester (polyethylene • Web Rollers—Infrared sensors can
any other material, but it presents terephthalate), fluoroplastic (FEP), be used to measure the temperature
unique measuring problems for any polymide, polyurethane, polyvinyl of rollers used in various web process-
sensor, including a radiation ther- chloride, acrylic, polycarbonate, es, even if they are chrome plated.
mometer. As with glass, when mea- polymide (nylon), polypropylene, Uncoated metal or chrome rollers are
suring film temperature, it’s impor- polyethylene and polystyrene. difficult for an IR sensor to see,
tant to install it so the instrument As with glass, be careful of appli- because they have low emissivity and
doesn’t see any hot objects behind cations where the film is heated with the sensor sees too many environ-
the transparent film, or any reflect- high intensity, tungsten filament mental reflections. In such a case,
ed radiation from hot objects in quartz lamps. These generate radia- paint a black stripe on an unused por-
front of the film. tion levels that interfere with ther- tion of the roller and aim the device
For films of 1, 10 or 100 mil thick- mometers operating below 4.7 directly at the stripe.

Table 8-4: Application Wavelengths (Microns)

TYPICAL 0.65 0.9 1.0 0.7-1.08 1.55 1.65 2.0 3.43 3.9 5.0 7.9 8-14
APPLICATIONS and 1.68 and 1.68
2-color 2-color
Aluminum • • • •
Asphalt • •
Automotive • • • • • • • • •
Appliances • • • •
Ammunition • • •
Batteries • •
Cement • • • • • • • •
Construction Materials • • •
Fiberglass • • • • • • •
Food Processing • • •
Foundry • • • • •
Glass-Melting • • • • •
Glass-Flat • •
Glass Bottles • • • •
Heat Treating • • • • •
Induction Heating • • • • •
Kilns • • • • • • •
Metalworking • • • • •
Mining •
Non-ferrous Metals • • • •
Ovens • • • • • • • • • • •
Paper • • •
Pharmaceutical •
Plastics • • •
Plastic Films • •
Rubber • • •
Semiconductors • • • • • • •
Steel • • • • • •

Textiles • • • •
Utilities • •

Products & Applications 8

Dull metal rollers often provide Protection from high electromag- • Infrared Thermocouples
reliable signals. Emissivity can shift if netic and radio frequency interfer- These self-powered devices generate a
the rollers get covered with dirt, ence (EMI/RFI) is available if the thermocouple signal output using
moisture or oil. If in doubt, simply thermometer must be installed in a radiated energy, but usually have no
paint a stripe. Non-metallic surfaced difficult environments. signal processing or display systems.
rollers provide a reliable signal no Most infrared thermometers can An infrared thermocouple is a sensor
matter where the device is pointed. be supplied with an emissivity only, but it does have a few options
adjustment. In addition, some and accessories.
devices can be supplied with an • Cooling jacket kits for air or water
Accessories, Features & Options adjustable field of view. This is cooling;
Radiation thermometers and ther- accomplished by installing an iris in • Handheld version for precise spot
mocouples are available with a host the optical system that can be measurements;
of features to solve a wide range of opened or closed to provide wide or • Close-focus model with up to 60:1
application conditions. All infrared narrow angle field of views. field of view;
sensors are available in a wide range • Periscope kit for right-angle mea-
of wavelengths, temperature ranges surements;
and optical systems. Portable units • Handheld IR Thermometers • Low-cost ($99) model with ABS
almost always are available with car- Handheld instruments are generally plastic housing;
rying kits, and permanently mount- completely self-contained, battery- • Adjustable emissivity;
ed units are ruggedized. Listed powered units, with manual controls • Two-color pyrometry unit that
below are other options, features and adjustments and some form of uses short-wave and long-wave
and accessories that make these digital readout. Units can be mounted infrared thermocouples.
sensors more useful for certain on tripods. Other accessories include:
types of applications. • Laser sights, which paint a visible
Backlit LCD displays, integrally spot on the target, making it easier to • Fiber Optic Sensors
attached or remotely mounted determine where the instrument is Probes are available in lens cells of
from the thermometer, are avail- pointed. This option is available both various sizes, with replaceable
able. Multiple variables can be integrally attached or detachable glass or quartz tips. Options
viewed simultaneously on these from the thermometer. Hand-held include a ceramic/metal tip for
displays. These data can include devices used for up-close spot tem- high temperatures, a polymer bolt
current temperature, minimum perature measurement (for example, for extrusion applications, ejector
measured temperature (time based), to measure component temperature pin probe for injection molding,
maximum measured temperature on printed circuit boards) can have and right angle prisms. Sensor
(time based), average temperature audible focusing guides instead of probes also are available as optical
measured (time based), and differ- light markers. rods up to 60 cm long.
ential temperature (for example, • Dataloggers, for acquiring data Cables can be supplied in single,
between the target and the sur- from thermometers and recording it bifurcated or trifurcated fiber optic
roundings). for future use; bundles, and enclosed in jackets
Microprocessor-based radiation • Digital printers made of flexible stainless steel (stan-
thermometers have input options to • Electrical system scanners, designed dard), ceramic, heavy duty wire braid
allow data to be integrated into the specifically for finding hot spots in for abrasion resistance, or Teflon for
measurement from other sensors or electrical panels, switchgear, fuse high radio frequency fields. Cables
thermometers in the loop. For exam- panels, transformers, etc. typically are up to 30 ft long.
ple, a separate thermocouple or RTD • Handheld, shirt-pocket-size scan-
input to the thermometer can be ner for general surface temperature
used to compensate the measured measurement. • Indicators and Controllers
target temperature for changing • Outputs: RS232C serial and/or 1 Display units and controllers are
ambient temperature conditions. mV/degree. available in models ranging from a

8 Products & Applications

simple digital panel meter that dis- temperature at normal levels inside • Onboard data logging functions
plays the signal as a temperature in °F the enclosure. are available, as well as options for
or °C, to complex multi-channel • Peltier effect cooling—Some line thermal printers to retrieve stored
processors that perform signal con- scanners have electronic cooling sys- data. Data can also be remotely
ditioning, linearization, peak-picking, tems, using Peltier effect devices. transmitted digitally.
alarm monitoring, saving min/max • Sighting accessories, including • Transmitters—Ruggedized NEMA 4
values, signal averaging, data logging sight tubes, laser pointing devices, housing with 4-20 mAdc and/or
and a host of other signal processing and scopes. RS232C/RS485 outputs. T
and manipulation functions.

References and Further Reading

• Mounted IR Thermometers • Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press, 1997.
The same basic features, options • New Horizons in Temperature Measurement & Control, Omega Press,
and accessories are available for 1996.
radiation thermometers, two-color • Product Previews in Temperature Measurement & Control, 21st Century™
systems, and line scanners. Preview Edition, Omega Press, 1997.
Ruggedized for use on the plant • Temperature Measurement in Engineering, H. Dean Baker, E. A. Ryder, and
floor, all these devices have several N. H. Baker, Omega Press, 1975.
accessories to help them survive in • “Glass Temperature Measurement,” Technical Note 101, Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill.
hostile environments. • Handbook of Non-Contact Temperature Sensors, Exergen Corp.,
• Air purge—Attaches to front end Watertown, Mass., 1996.
of sensor housing and provides posi- • “How Do You Take Its Temperature?, ” Aviation Equipment Maintenance,
tive air pressure in front of the lens, February 1992.
preventing dust, smoke, moisture and • “How Infrared Thermometers are Gaining Acceptance,” Paul Studebaker,
other contamination from reaching Control, July 1993.
lens. In two-color systems, it can • IR Answers and Solutions Handbook, Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill.
attach to front of re-imaging lens. • “On-Line Industrial Thermal Imaging Systems Evolve Expanding Infrared
• Air or water cooling jackets— Measuring Capabilities,” George Bartosiak, Industrial Heating, December 1992.
Available for warm (35°F above ambi- • “Plastic Film Measurement,” Technical Note 100, Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill.
ent) and hot (up to 400 °F) environ- • “Preventive Maintenance Program Averts Crashes with IR
ments, cooling jackets keep sensor Thermometer/Thermal Scanning,” Engineer’s Digest, September 1989.

Information Resources

Information Resources
Academy of Infrared Thermography
2955 Westsyde Road, Kamloops, BC, Canada, V2B 7E7 250/579-7677
American Ceramic Society
65 Ceramic Drive, Columbus, OH 43214 614/268-8645
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
345 East 47 Street, New York, NY 10017-2395 212/705-7338
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
345 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017 212/705-7722
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
3412 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94303 415/855-2000
Fiber Optics Sensor System Facilities & Optical Fiber
Drawing & Measuring Facilities, Dept. of the Navy 202/767-3744
4555 Overlook Avenue, Washington, DC 20375
Infrared Information and Analysis Center (IRIA)
Dept. of the Navy 313/994-1200
PO Box 8618, Ann Arbor, MI
Infraspection Institute
Shelburne, VT 802/985-2500
Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331 732/981-0060
ISA—The International Society for Measurement & Control
67 Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 919/549-8411
International Society for Optical Engineers (SPIE)
PO Box 10, Bellingham, WA 98277 206/676-3290
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
Infrared Thermography Laboratory 510/486-6844
Berkeley, CA 94720 (Dariush Arasteh)
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-0001. 301/975-3058

For the Latest Information Omega Engineering, Inc.

on Non-Contact One Omega Drive
Temperature P.O. Box 4047
Instrumentation Products: Stamford, CT 06907-0047
Phone: 800-82-66342 (800-TC-OMEGASM)

Information Resources


Book of Books: Scientific & Technical Books, Software & Videos,
Omega Press, 1998.
Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control,
Omega Press, 1997.
New Horizons in Temperature Measurement & Control,
Omega Press, 1996.
Omega Handbook & Encyclopedia, Purchasing Agent Edition,
Omega Press, 1995.
Product Previews in Temperature Measurement & Control,
Omega Press, 1997.
Product Previews in Temperature Measurement & Control, 21st Century Preview Edition,
Omega Press, 1997.
Temperature Measurement in Engineering,
H. Dean Baker, E. A. Ryder, and N. H. Baker, Omega Press, 1975.


Album of Science, The 19th Century
Pearce L. Williams, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1978.
Applications of Infrared Technology (SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 918)
T.L. Williams (editor), SPIE, 1989.
Applications of Thermal Imaging
S.G. Burnay, T.L. Williams, and C.H. Jones (editor), Adam Hilger, 1988.
Asimov’s Chronology of Science and Discovery
Isaac Asimov, HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists
2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1994.
Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vols. 9, 10, 11
Charles C. Gillispile, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973.
Detecting Delaminations in Bridge Decks Using Infrared Thermography
(ASTM Standard D4488-88).
The Detection and Measurement of Infrared Radiation
R.A. Smith, F. E. Jones, and R. P. Chasmar, Oxford at Clarendon Press, 1968.
Engineering in History
Richard S. Kirby and Sidney Withington, Arthur B. Darling, Frederick G. Kilgour, McGraw-Hill, 1956.
Fiber Optic Sensors
Eric Udd, John Wiley & Sons, 1991.
Fundamentals of Infrared Detector Operation and Testing (Wiley Series in Pure and Applied Optics)
John David Vincent, John Wiley & Sons, 1990.
Glass Temperature Measurement, Technical Note 101
Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill.
Handbook of Infrared Optical Materials (Optical Engineering Series, Vol. 30)
Paul Klocek (editor), Marcel Dekker, 1991.

Information Resources

Handbook of Intelligent Sensors for Industrial Automation

Nello Zuech, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1992.
Handbook of Non-Contact Temperature Sensors
Exergen Corp., Watertown, Mass., 1996.
Handbook of Temperature Measurement & Control
Omega Engineering Co., 1997.
Heat and Thermodynamics, 6th ed.
Mark W. Zemansky, and Richard H. Dittman, McGraw-Hill, 1981.
Industrial Temperature Measurement
Thomas W. Kerlin and Robert L. Shepard, Publishers Creative Series, Inc., ISA.
Infrared Detectors
R. D. Hudson and J. W. Hudson (editor), Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1975.
Infrared Detectors : State of the Art (SPIE Proceedings,Vol. 1735)
Wagih H. Makky (editor), SPIE, 1992.
Infrared Detectors : State of the Art II (SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 2274)
Randolph E. Longshore (editor), SPIE, 1994.
Infrared Detectors and Systems (Wiley Series in Pure and Applied Optics)
Eustace L. Dereniak and G. D. Boreman, John Wiley & Sons, 1996.
The Infrared and Electro-Optical Systems Handbook
Joseph S. Accetta, David L. Shumaker (editor), SPIE, 1993.
Infrared and Optoelectronic Materials and Devices (SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 1512)
Ahmed Naumann, SPIE, 1991.
Infrared Fiber Optics III (SPIE Proceedings Series, Vol. 1591)
James A. Harrington and Abraham Katzir (editor), SPIE, 1992.
Infrared Radiation
Henry L. Hackford, McGraw-Hill, 1960.
Infrared System Engineering (Pure and Applied Optics)
Richard D. Hudson, John Wiley & Sons, 1969.
Infrared Technology Fundamentals (Optical Engineering Series 22)
Irving J. Spiro and Monroe Schlessinger, Marcel Dekker, 1989.
The Infrared Temperature Handbook
Omega Engineering, 1994.
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G. Gaussorgues and S. Chomet (translator), Chapman & Hall, 1994.
Instrument Engineers’ Handbook, Third Edition
B. Liptak, Chilton Book Co. (CRC Press), 1995.
An International Conference on Thermal Infrared Sensing for Diagnostics and Control (Thermosene Vii)
Andronicos G. Kantsios (editor), SPIE,1985.
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Frank P. Incropera, and David P. DeWitt, John Wiley & Sons, 1990.
An Introduction to the Principles of Infrared Physics
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Information Resources

The Instrument Engineer’s Handbook

B. Liptak, ed., Chilton, 1996.
IR Answers and Solutions Handbook
Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill.
The Invisible World of the Infrared
Jack R. White, Dodd, Mead & Company, 1984.
The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 8th ed., Vol. 9
McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Measurements for Competitiveness in Electronics
NIST Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory,1993.
Nondestructive Evaluation of Materials by Infrared Thermography
Xavier P.V. Maldague, Springer Verlag, 1993.
Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists
Emily J. McMurray, Gale Research Inc., 1995.
Optical Fiber Sensors: Systems and Applications, Vol 2
B. Culshaw and J. Dakin, Artech House; 1989.
Pioneers of Modern Science, The World of Science
Bill MacKeith, Andromeda Oxford Limited, 1991.
Plastic Film Measurement, Technical Note 100
Ircon Inc., Niles, Ill.
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(Tutorial Texts in Optical Engineering, Vol. 13), Herbert Kaplan, SPIE, 1993.
Process/Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook, 4th ed.
Douglas M. Considine, McGraw-Hill, 1993.
The Scientific 100. A Ranking of the Most Influential Scientists, Past and Present
John Simmons, Carol Publishing Group, 1996.
Sensors and Control Systems in Manufacturing
S. Soloman, McGraw-Hill, 1994.
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Emissivity Tables

Emissivity of Common Materials

Note: Because the emissivity of a given material will vary with temperature and surface finish, the value in these tables should be used only as a guide
for relative or differential temperature measurements. The exact emissivity of a material should be determined when high accuracy is required.

A Alloys 73% Cu, 27% Zn, Polished 674 (357) .03
20-Ni, 24-CR, 55-FE, Oxidized 392 (200) .90 62% Cu, 37% Zn, Polished 494 (257) .03
20-Ni, 24-CR, 55-FE, Oxidized 932 (500) .97 62% Cu, 37% Zn, Polished 710 (377) .04
60-Ni, 12-CR, 28-FE, Oxidized 518 (270) .89 83% Cu, 17% Zn, Polished 530 (277) .03
60-Ni, 12-CR, 28-FE, Oxidized 1040 (560) .82 Matte 68 (20) .07
80-Ni, 20-CR, Oxidized 212 (100) .87 Burnished to Brown Color 68 (20) .40
80-Ni, 20-CR, Oxidized 1112 (600) .87 Cu-Zn, Brass Oxidized 392 (200) .61
80-Ni, 20-CR, Oxidized 2372 (1300) .89 Cu-Zn, Brass Oxidized 752 (400) .60
Aluminum Cu-Zn, Brass Oxidized 1112 (600) .61
Unoxidized 77 (25) .02 Unoxidized 77 (25) .04
Unoxidized 212 (100) .03 Unoxidized 212 (100) .04
Unoxidized 932 (500) .06 Cadmium 77 (25) .02 C
Oxidized 390 (199) .11 Carbon
Oxidized 1110 (599) .19 Lampblack 77 (25) .95
Oxidized at 1110°F (599°C) 390 (199) .11 Unoxidized 77 (25) .81
Oxidized at 1110°F (599°C) 1110 (599) .19 Unoxidized 212 (100) .81
Heavily Oxidized 200 (93) .20 Unoxidized 932 (500) .79
Heavily Oxidized 940 (504) .31 Candle Soot 250 (121) .95
Highly Polished 212 (100) .09 Filament 500 (260) .95
Roughly Polished 212 (100) .18 Graphitized 212 (100) .76
Commercial Sheet 212 (100) .09 Graphitized 572 (300) .75
Highly Polished Plate 440 (227) .04 Graphitized 932 (500) .71
Highly Polished Plate 1070 (577) .06 Chromium 100 (38) .08
Bright Rolled Plate 338 (170) .04 Chromium 1000 (538) .26
Bright Rolled Plate 932 (500) .05 Chromium, Polished 302 (150) .06
Alloy A3003, Oxidized 600 (316) .40 Cobalt, Unoxidized 932 (500) .13
Alloy A3003, Oxidized 900 (482) .40 Cobalt, Unoxidized 1832 (1000) .23
Alloy 1100-0 200-800 (93-427) .05 Columbium
Alloy 24ST 75 (24) .09 Unoxidized 1500 (816) .19
Alloy 24ST, Polished 75 (24) .09 Unoxidized 2000 (1093) .24
Alloy 75ST 75 (24) .11 Copper
Alloy 75ST, Polished 75 (24) .08 Cuprous Oxide 100 (38) .87
B Bismuth Cuprous Oxide 500 (260) .83
Bright 176 (80) .34 Cuprous Oxide 1000 (538) .77
Unoxidized 77 (25) .05 Black, Oxidized 100 (38) .78
Unoxidized 212 (100) .06 Etched 100 (38) .09
Brass Matte 100 (38) .22
73% Cu, 27% Zn, Polished 476 (247) .03 Roughly Polished 100 (38) .07

Emissivity Tables


Polished 100 (38) .03 Dull 77 (25) .94
Highly Polished 100 (38) .02 Dull 660 (349) .94
Rolled 100 (38) .64 Smooth 100 (38) .35
Rough 100 (38) .74 Polished 100 (38) .28
Molten 1000 (538) .15 Lead
Molten 1970 (1077) .16 Polished 100-500 (38-260) .06-.08
Molten 2230 (1221) .13 Rough 100 (38) .43
Nickel Plated 100-500 (38-260) .37 Oxidized 100 (38) .43
D Dow Metal 0.4-600 (-18-316) .15 Oxidized at 1100°F 100 (38) .63
G Gold Gray Oxidized 100 (38) .28
Enamel 212 (100) .37 Magnesium 100-500 (38-260) .07-.13 M
Plate (.0001) Magnesium Oxide 1880-3140 (1027-1727) .16-.20
Plate on .0005 Silver 200-750 (93-399) .11-.14 Mercury 32 (0) .09
Plate on .0005 Nickel 200-750 (93-399) .07-.09 Mercury 77 (25) .10
Polished 100-500 (38-260) .02 Mercury 100 (38) .10
Polished 1000-2000 (538-1093) .03 Mercury 212 (100) .12
H Haynes Alloy C Molybdenum 100 (38) .06
Oxidized 600 2000 (316-1093) .90-.96 Molybdenum 500 (260) .08
Haynes Alloy 25 Molybdenum 1000 (538) .11
Oxidized 600-2000 (316-1093) .86-.89 Molybdenum 2000 (1093 .18
Haynes Alloy X Oxidized at 1000°F 600 (316) .80
Oxidized 600-2000 (316-1093) .85-.88 Oxidized at 1000°F 700 (371) .84
I Inconel Oxidized at 1000°F 800 (427) .84
Sheet 1000 (538) .28 Oxidized at 1000°F 900 (482) .83
Sheet 1200 (649) .42 Oxidized at 1000°F 1000 (538) .82
Sheet 1400 (760) .58 Monel
X, Polished 75 (24) .19 Monel, Ni-Cu 392 (200 .41
B, Polished 75 (24) .21 Monel, Ni-Cu 752 (400) .44
Iron Monel, Ni-Cu 1112 (600) .46
Oxidized 212 (100) .74 Oxidized 68 (20) .43
Oxidized 930 (499) .84 Oxidized at 1110°F 1110 (599) .46
Oxidized 2190 (1199) .89 Nickel N
Unoxidized 212 (100) .05 Polished 100 (38) .05
Red Rust 77 (25) .70 Oxidized 100-500 (38-260) .31-.46
Rusted 77 (25) .65 Unoxidized 77 (25) .05
Liquid 2700-3220 (1516-1771) .42-.45 Unoxidized 212 (100) .06
Iron, Cast Unoxidized 932 (500) .12
Oxidized 390 (199) .64 Unoxidized 1832 (1000) .19
Oxidized 1110 (599) .78 Electrolytic 100 (38) .04
Unoxidized 212 (100) .21 Electrolytic 500 (260) .06
Strong Oxidation 40 (104) .95 Electrolytic 1000 (538) .10
Strong Oxidation 482 (250) .95 Electrolytic 2000 (1093) .16
Liquid 2795 (1535) .29 Nickel Oxide 1000-2000 (538-1093) .59-.86
Iron, Wrought Palladium Plate (.00005 on P

Emissivity Tables


.0005 silver) 200-750 (93-399) .16-.17 Type 446, Polished 300-1500 (149-815) .15-.37
Platinum 100 (38) .05 Type 17-7 PH 200-600 (93-316) .44-.51
Platinum 500 (260) .05 Type 17-7 PH Polished 300-1500 (149-815) .09-.16
Platinum 1000 (538) .10 Type C1020, Oxidized600-2000 (316-1093) .87-.91
Platinum, Black 100 (38) .93 Type PH-15-7 MO 300-1200 (149-649) .07-.19
Platinum, Black 500 (260) .96 Stellite, Polished 68 (20) .18
Platinum, Black 2000 (1093) .97 Tantalum T
Oxidized at 1100°F (593°C) 500 (260) .07 Unoxidized 1340 (727) .14
Oxidized at 1100°F (593°C) 1000 (538) .11 Unoxidized 2000 (1093) .19
R Rhodium Flash (0.0002 on Unoxidized 3600 (1982) .26
0.0005Ni) 200-700 (93-371) .10-.18 Unoxidized 5306 (2930) .30
S Silver Tin
Plate (0.0005 on Ni) 200-700 (93-371) .06-.07 Unoxidized 77 (25) .04
Polished 100 (38) .01 Unoxidized 212 (100) .05
Polished 500 (260) .02 Tinned Iron, Bright 76 (24) .05
Polished 1000 (538) .03 Tinned Iron, Bright 212 (100) .08
Polished 2000 (1093) .03 Titanium
Steel Alloy C110M, Polished 300-1200 (149-649) .08-.19
Cold Rolled 200 (93) .75-.85 Alloy C110M, Oxidized
Ground Sheet 1720-2010 (938-1099) .55-.61 at 1000°F (538°C) 200-800 (93-427) .51-.61
Polished Sheet 100 (38) .07 Alloy Ti-95A, Oxidized
Polished Sheet 500 (260) .10 at 1000°F (538°C) 200-800 (93-427) .35-.48
Polished Sheet 1000 (538) .14 Anodized onto SS 200-600 (93-316) .96-.82
Mild Steel, Polished 75 (24) .10 Tungsten
Mild Steel, Smooth 75 (24) .12 Unoxidized 77 (25) .02
Mild Steel, Liquid 2910-3270 (1599-1793) .28 Unoxidized 212 (100) .03
Steel, Unoxidized 212 (100) .08 Unoxidized 932 (500) .07
Steel Oxidized 77 (25) .80 Unoxidized 1832 (1000) .15
Steel Alloys Unoxidized 2732 (1500) .23
Type 301, Polished 75 (24) .27 Unoxidized 3632 (2000) .28
Type 301, Polished 450 (232) .57 Filament (Aged) 100 (38) .03
Type 301, Polished 1740 (949) .55 Filament (Aged) 1000 (538) .11
Type 303, Oxidized 600-2000 (316-1093) .74-.87 Filament (Aged) 5000 (2760) .35
Type 310, Rolled 1500-2100 ((816-1149) .56-.81 Uranium Oxide 1880 (1027) .79 U
Type 316, Polished 75 (24) .28 Zinc Z
Type 316, Polished 450 (232) .57 Bright, Galvanized 100 (38) .23
Type 316, Polished 1740 (949) .66 Commercial 99.1% 500 (260) .05
Type 321 200-800 (93-427) .27-.32 Galvanized 100 (38) .28
Type 321, Polished 300-1500 (149-815) .18-.49 Oxidized 500-1000 (260-538) .11
Type 321 w/BK Oxide 200-800 (93-427) .66-.76 Polished 100 (38) .02
Type 347, Oxidized 600-2000 (316-1093) .87-.91 Polished 500 (260) .03
Type 350 200-800 (93-427) .18-.27 Polished 1000 (538) .04
Type 350 Polished 300-1800 (149-982) .11-.35 Polished 2000 (1093) .06

Emissivity Tables

A Adobe 68 (20) .90 Brown 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .87-.83
Asbestos Black 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .94-.91
Board 100 (38) .96 Cotton Cloth 68 (20) .77
Cement 32-392 (0-200) .96 Dolomite Lime 69 (20) .41 D
Cement, Red 2500 (1371) .67 Emery Corundum 176 (80) .86 E
Cement, White 2500 (1371) .65 Glass G
Cloth 199 (93) .90 Convex D 212 (100) .80
Paper 100-700 (38-371) .93 Convex D 600 (316) .80
Slate 68 (20) .97 Convex D 932 (500) .76
Asphalt, pavement 100 (38) .93 Nonex 212 (100) .82
Asphalt, tar paper 68 (20) .93 Nonex 600 (316) .82
B Basalt 68 (20) .72 Nonex 932 (500) .78
Brick Smooth 32-200 (0-93) .92-.94
Red, rough 70 (21) .93 Granite 70 (21) .45
Gault Cream 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .26-.30 Gravel 100 (38) .28
Fire Clay 2500 (1371) .75 Gypsum 68 (20) .80-.90
Light Buff 1000 (538) .80 Ice I
Lime Clay 2500 (1371 .43 Smooth 32 (0) .97
Fire Brick 1832 (1000) .75-.80 Rough 32 (0) .98
Magnesite, Refractory 1832 (1000) .38 Lacquer L
Grey Brick 2012 (1100) .75 Black 200 (93) .96
Silica, Glazed 2000 (1093) .88 Blue, on Al Foil 100 (38) .78
Silica, Unglazed 2000 (1093) .80 Clear, on Al Foil (2 coats) 200 (93) .08 (.09)
Sandlime 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .59-.63 Clear, on Bright Cu 200 (93) .66
C Carborundum 1850 (1010) .92 Clear, on Tarnished Cu 200 (93) .64
Ceramic Red, on Al Foil (2 coats) 100 (38) .61 (.74)
Alumina on Inconel 800-2000 (427-1093) .69-.45 White 200 (93) .95
Earthenware, Glazed 70 (21) .90 White, on Al Foil (2 coats) 100 (38) .69 (.88)
Earthenware, Matte 70 (21) .93 Yellow, on Al Foil (2 coats) 100 (38) .57 (.79)
Greens No. 5210-2C 200-750 (93-399) .89-.82 Lime Mortar 100-500 (38-260) .90-.92
Coating No. C20A 200-750 (93-399) .73-.67 Limestone 100 (38) .95
Porcelain 72 (22) .92 Marble M
White Al2O3 200 (93) .90 White 100 (38) .95
Zirconia on Inconel 800-2000 (427-1093) .62-.45 Smooth, White 100 (38) .56
Clay 68 (20) .39 Polished Gray 100 (38) .75
Fired 158 (70) .91 Mica 100 (38) .75
Shale 68 (20) .69 Oil on Nickel O
Tiles, Light Red 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .32-.34 0.001 Film 72 (22) .27
Tiles, Red 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .40-.51 0.002 Film 72 (22) .46
Tiles, Dark Purple 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .78 0.005 Film 72 (22) .72
Concrete Thick Film 72 (22) .82
Rough 32-2000 (0-1093) .94 Oil, Linseed
Tiles, Natural 2500-5000 (1371-2760) .63-.62 On Al Foil, uncoated 250 (121) .09

Emissivity Tables


On Al Foil, 1 coat 250 (121) .56 Quartz, Rough, Fused 70 (21) .93 Q
On Al Foil, 2 coats 250 (121) .51 Glass, 1.98 mm 540 (282) .90
On Polished Iron, .001 Film 100 (38) .22 Glass, 1.98 mm 1540 (838) .41
On Polished Iron, .002 Film 100 (38) .45 Glass, 6.88 mm 540 (282) .93
On Polished Iron, .004 Film 100 (38) .65 Glass, 6.88 mm 1540 (838) .47
On Polished Iron, Thick Film 100 (38) .83 Opaque 570 (299) .92
P Paints Opaque 1540 (838) .68
Blue, Cu2O3 75 (24) .94 Red Lead 212 (100) .93 R
Black, CuO 75 (24) .96 Rubber
Green, Cu2O3 75 (24) .92 Hard 74 (23) .94
Red, Fe2O3 75 (24) .91 Soft, Gray 76 (24) .86
White, Al2O3 75 (24) .94 Sand 68 (20) .76 S
White, Y2O3 75 (24) .90 Sandstone 100 (38) .67
White, ZnO 75 (24) .95 Sandstone, Red 100 (38) .60-.83
White, MgCO3 75 (24) .91 Sawdust 68 (20) .75
White ZrO2 75 (24) .95 Shale 68 (20) .69
White, ThO2 75 (24) .90 Silica
White, MgO 75 (24) .91 Glazed 1832 (1000) .85
White PbCO3 75 (24) .93 Unglazed 2012 (1100) .75
Yellow, PbO 75 (24) .90 Silicon Carbide 300-1200 (149-649) .83-.96
Yellow, PbCrO4 75 (24) .93 Silk Cloth 68 (20) .78
Paints, Aluminum 100 (38) .27-.67 Slate 100 (38) .67-.80
10% Al 100 (38) .52 Snow
26% Al 100 (38) .30 Fine Particles 20 (-7) .82
Dow XP-310 200 (93) .22 Granular 18 (-8) .89
Paints, Bronze Low .34-80 Soil
Gum Varnish (2 coats) 70 (21) .53 Surface 100 (38) .38
Gum Varnish (3 coats) 70 (21) .50 Black Loam 68 (20) .66
Cellulose Binder (2 coats) 70 (21) .34 Plowed Field 68 (20) .38
Paints, Oil Soot
All colors 200 (93) .92-.96 Acetylene 75 (24) .97
Black 200 (93) .92 Camphor 75 (24) .94
Black Gloss 70 (21) .90 Candle 250 (121) .95
Camouflage Green 125 (52) .85 Coal 68 (20) .95
Flat Black 80 (27) .88 Stonework 100 (38) .93
Flat White 80 (27) .91 Water 100 (38) .67 W
Grey-Green 70 (21) .95 Waterglass 68 (20) .96
Green 200 (93) .95 Wood Low .80-.90
Lamp Black 209 (98) .96 Beech, Planed 158 (70) .94
Red 200 (93) .95 Oak, Planed 100 (38) .91
White 200 (93) .94 Spruce, Sanded 100 (38) .89


A degree Celsius at 15°C.
Absolute zero: Temperature at which thermal energy is at Celsius (Centigrade): A temperature scale defined by 0 °C
a minimum. Defined as 0 Kelvin or 0 Rankine (-273.15 °C or at the ice point and 100°C at the boiling point of water.
-459.67°F). Color code: The ANSI established color code for ther-
Absorptivity: The fraction of incident radiation mocouple (and infrared thermocouples) wires in which
absorbed by a surface, α. the negative lead is always red. Color code for base
Accuracy: Closeness of a reading or indication of a mea- metal thermocouples is yellow for Type K, black for Type
surement device to the actual value of the quantity J, purple for Type E and blue for Type T.
being measured. Common-mode rejection ratio: The ability of an instru-
Ambient compensation: The design of an instrument ment to reject interference from a common voltage at its
such that changes in ambient temperature do not affect input terminals with relation to ground, usually
the readings of the instrument. expressed in decibels (dB).
Ambient temperature: The average or mean tempera- Compensating alloys: Alloys used to connect thermo-
ture of the surrounding air which comes in contact with couples and IR thermocouples to instrumentation. These
the equipment and instruments under test. alloys are selected to have similar thermal electric prop-
Ampere (amp): A unit used to define the rate of flow erties as the thermocouple alloys over a limited temper-
of electricity (current) in an electrical circuit; units are ature range.
one coulomb (6.25x1018 electrons) per second. Compensated connector: A connector made of ther-
Symbolized by A. mocouple alloys used to connect thermocouple and IR
American National Standards Institute (ANSI): The thermocouple probes and wires.
United States standards body responsible for designating CPS: Cycles per second, also Hertz (Hz).
standards developed by other organizations as national Cryogenics: The measurement of very low temperatures,
standards. i.e., below -200°C.
B Current: The rate of flow of electricity. The unit is the
Blackbody: A theoretical object that radiates the maxi- ampere (A), which equals one coulomb per second.
mum amount of energy at a given temperature, and D
absorbs all the energy incident upon it. A blackbody is Degree: An incremental value in a temperature scale.
not necessarily black. (The name blackbody was chosen Diffuse emitter: A surface that emits radiation equally in
because the color black is defined as the total absorp- all directions.
tion of light energy.) DIN: Deutsche Industrial Norms, a German agency that
Boiling point: The temperature at which a substance in the sets engineering and dimensional standards that now
liquid phase transforms to the gaseous phase. Commonly have worldwide acceptance.
refers to the boiling point of water, 100°C (212°F). Drift: A change in an instrument’s reading or setpoint
Bolometer: Infrared thermometer detector consisting value over extended periods due to factors such as time,
of a resistance thermometer arranged for response to line voltage, or ambient temperature effects.
radiation. Dual element sensor: A sensor assembly with two inde-
BTU: British thermal unit, the amount of energy required pendent sensing elements.
to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. E
C Electromotive force (EMF): A measure of voltage in an
Calibration: The process of adjusting an instrument or electrical circuit.
compiling a deviation chart so that its reading can be Electromagnetic interference (EMI): electrical noise
correlated to the actual value being measured. induced upon signal wires with the possible effect of
Calorie: Measure of thermal energy, defined as the obscuring the instrument signal.
amount of heat required to raise one gram of water one Emissive power: Rate at which radiation is emitted from


a surface, per unit surface area per unit wavelength. Interchangeability error: A measurement error that
Emissivity/emittivity: The ratio of energy emitted by a can occur if two or more sensors are used to make the
surface to the energy emitted by a blackbody at the same measurement. Caused by slight variations from
same temperature, symbolized by ε. Emissivity refers to sensor to sensor.
an overall property of a substance, whereas emittvity Intrinsically safe: An instrument in which electrical
refers to a particular surface’s characteristics. energy is limited such that it will not spark or otherwise
Error: The difference between the correct of desired ignite a flammable mixture.
value and the actual read or value taken. ISA: Formerly the Instrument Society of America, now referred
F to as the International Society for Measurement & Control.
Fahrenheit: A temperature scale define by 32°F at the ice J
point and 212°F at the boiling point of water at sea level. Joule: Basic unit of thermal energy.
Fiber optic radiation thermometer: Radiation ther- Junction: The point in a thermocouple where the two
mometer that uses a fiber optic probe to separate the dissimilar metals are joined.
detector, housing, and electronics from the radiation K
gathering point itself. Used to measure temperature in Kelvin: Absolute temperature scale based on the Celsius
hard-to-reach places or in hostile conditions. scale, but with zero K defined at absolute zero. 0°C cor-
Field of view: A volume in space defined by an angular responds to 273.15°K.
cone extending from the focal plane of an instrument. L
Freezing point: The temperature at which a substance Linearity: The deviation of an instrument’s response
goes from the liquid phase to the solid phase. from a straight line.
Frequency: The number of cycles over a specified time Linescanner: Device that uses a series of moving mirrors
period over which an event occurs. For electromagnetic to measure temperature or other properties at various
radiation, normally symbolized by υ. points across a moving web or surface.
G Loop resistance: The total resistance of a complete
Gain: The amount of amplification used in an electrical electrical circuit.
circuit. M
Ground: The electrical neutral line having the same Measuring junction: The thermocouple junction
potential as the surrounding earth; the negative side of a referred to as the hot junction that is used to measure an
direct current power system; the reference point for an unknown temperature.
electrical system. Melting point: The temperature at which a substance
H transforms from a solid phase to a liquid phase.
Heat: Thermal energy, typically expressed in calories or Micron (µm): One millionth of a meter.
BTUs. Milliamp (mA): One thousandth of an ampere.
Heat transfer: The process of thermal energy flowing Millivolt (mV): One thousandth of a volt.
from a body of high energy to a body of lower energy via N
conduction, convection, and/or radiation. N = N factor (= 14388/(lT))
Hertz (Hz): Unit of frequency, defined in cycles per Narrow-band radiation thermometer: Radiation ther-
second. mometer that measures radiation in a tightly controlled
I range of wavelengths, typically determined by the opti-
Ice point: The temperature at which pure water freezes, cal filter used.
0°C, 32°F, 273.15°K. Noise: Any unwanted electrical interference on a
Impedance: The total opposition to electrical flow. signal wire.
Infrared (IR): A range of the electromagnetic spectrum Normal-mode rejection ratio: The ability of an instru-
extending beyond red visible light from 760 nanometers ment to reject electrical interference across its input ter-
to 1000 microns. minals, normally of line frequency (50-60 Hz).
Infrared thermocouple: Radiation thermometer whose O
output simulates that of a standard type thermocouple, Ohmeter: A device used to measure electrical resistance.
typically over a more limited temperature range. Optical isolation: Two networks or circuits in which an


LED transmitter and receiver are used to maintain elec- to which an instrument can respond.
trical discontinuity between the circuits. Span: The difference between the upper and lower lim-
Optical pyrometer: Infrared thermometer that measures its of a range, expressed in the same units as the range.
the temperature of very hot objects by the visible wave- Spectral filter: A filter that allows only a specific band-
length radiation given off. width of the electromagnetic spectrum to pass, i.e., 4-8
P micron infrared radiation.
Phase: A time-based relationship between a periodic Spot size: The diameter of the circle formed by the cross
function and a reference. section of the field of view of an optical instrument at a
Photon detector: Radiation thermometer detector that given distance.
releases electric charges in response to incident radiation. Stability: The ability of an instrument or sensor to maintain
Polarity: In electricity, the quality of having two oppo- a consistent output when a constant input is applied.
sitely charged poles, one positive and one negative. Sterling cycle: Thermodynamic cycle commonly used to
Power supply: A separate unit or part of a circuit that cool thermographic detectors.
provides power to the rest of a circuit. T
Primary standard: The standard reference units and Thermal detector: Radiation thermometer detector that
physical constants maintained by the National Institute generates a signal based on the heat energy absorbed.
of Standards & Technology (NIST) upon which all mea- Thermocouple: The junction of two dissimilar metals
surement units in the United States are based. through which a measurable current flows depending on
Pyroelectric detector: Radiation thermometer detec- the temperature difference between the two junctions.
tor that changes surface charge in response to received Thermography: The presentation and interpretation of
radiation. two-dimensional temperature pictures.
Pyrometer: Device used to measure the infrared radia- Thermometry: The science of temperature measurement.
tion (hence temperature) given off by a body or surface. Thermopile: an arrange of multiple thermocouples in
R series such that the thermoelectric output is amplified.
Radiation: The movement of energy in the form of elec- Thermowell: A closed-end tube designed to protect a
tromagnetic waves. temperature sensor from harsh process conditions.
Range: An area between two limits within which a quanti- Transmittance/transmissivity: The fraction of incident
ty is measured, stated in terms of a lower and upper limit. radiation passed through an object.
Rankine: Absolute temperature scale based on the Two-color pyrometer: A radiation thermometer that
Fahrenheit scale, but with zero R defined at absolute measures the radiation output of a surface at two wave-
zero. 0°F corresponds to 459.67°R. lengths, thus reducing any effects of emissivity variation
Reference junction: The cold junction in a thermocou- with wavelength.
ple circuit that is held constant at a known or measured V
temperature. Volt (V): The electrical potential difference between two
Reflectivity/reflectance: The fraction of incident radia- points in a circuit. One volt is the potential needed to
tion reflected by an object or surface. move one coulomb of charge between two points while
Radio frequency interference (RFI): Noise induced using one joule of energy.
upon signal wires by ambient radio-frequency electro- W
magnetic radiation with the effect of obscuring the Wavelength: Distance, from peak to peak, of any wave-
instrument signal. form. For electromagnetic radiation in the infrared region,
Repeatability: The ability of an instrument to give the same typically measured in microns and symbolized by λ.
output or reading under repeated, identical conditions. Working standard: A standard of unit measurement cal-
Resistance: The resistance to the flow of electric cur- ibrated from either a primary or secondary standard
rent, measured in ohms, Ω. which is used to calibrate other devices or make com-
S parison measurements.
Secondary standard: A standard of unit measurement Z
derived from a primary standard. Zero offset: The non-zero output of an instrument,
Sensitivity: The minimum change in a physical variable expressed in units of measure, under conditions of true zero.


A linescanning
Index 52
Absorptivity 18, 21 signal analysis 36
Application guidelines, 59-65 thermography 51
atmospheric interference 60 Einstein, Albert 15
operating environment 61 Electromagnetism, basic laws 12
target material 60 Emissivity,
temperature range 60 definition 18, 25
wavelength choice 60 experimental determination 25
B rules of thumb 25
Blackbody, values for common materials 72
behavior 14 Emittivity 18, 25
use in calibration 54-55 Emitttance 18
definition 13, 18 Error 58, 60
real approximation 19 F
Bibliography 68 Fiber optics,
Bolometer 31 applications 30, 43, 57, 66
Boltzmann, Ludwig 14 cable construction 45
Bunsen, Robert 13 historical development 43
C noise immunity 43
Calibration, probe construction 43
blackbody sources 54-55 transmission efficiency 43
importance 53 Field of view
isothermal options 54 (see Optical systems)
internal 36 Filters
traceability 55 (see also Optical systems),
tungsten filament refence 55 narrow band 27
Camera, thermographic 46 wheel configuration 28
Chopper 30, 37 Franhofer, Joseph von 12
Cooling, G
sensor assembly 60 Galilei, Galileo 11
detector 36 Glossary 77-79
D Gray body 18
Detector H
error compensation 35 Heat balance, radiation 17-18
photon 31-32 Helmholtz, Hermann von 13
pyroelectric 32 Herschel, Frederick William 12
sensitivity 32 Huygens, Christian 11
responsivity 35 I
thermal 31-32 Information resources 68
E International temperature scale 55
Electronics, Intermediate temperatures, law of 39
control functions 36 K
detector compensation 36 Kelvin, Lord 38
filtering 37 Kirchhoff, Gustav Robert 13


Kirchhoff’s law 13 Radiation thermometer,

L accessories 66
Linescanner, infrared advantages 24
applications 47, 58 alternative configurations 56
electronics 51 application guidelines 59
principles of operation 46 broadband 27
two-dimensional imaging 47 definition of 24
M design considerations 30, 37
Maxwell, James Clerk 11 detector options 31
Maxwell-Boltzmann equation electronics 35
Mirrors features 66
(see Optical systems) handheld 57, 66
Multicolor pyrometer industrial applications 15-16, 57
(see Radiation thermometer, ratio) mounted 57, 67
N limitations 24
Newton, Sir Isaac 11 multi-wavelength 29
N-Factor 25 narrow band 27
O operation 26
Omega Engineering, optical 29-30
about 9 N factor equation 25
contact information 68 ratio 25, 28, 57
Optical pyrometer single-color (see narrow band)
(see Radiation thermometer, optical) two-color (see ratio)
Optical systems, Rayleigh, John 14
configuration 32 Reference texts 69
field of view 33, 35 Reflectance 18
sighting path 33 Reflectivity 22
transmission characteristics 32, 34 Ribbon-filament lamp
P (see Tungsten filament lamp)
Peltier, Jean 38 S
Peltier effect 38 Seebeck, T.J. 38
Photoelectric effect 15 Shielding 60
Planck, Max Karl Ernst Ludwig 14 Sighting path
Planck’s constant 14 (see Optical systems)
Planck’s distribution law 20 Sighting tube 61
Planck’s equation 14, 17 Spectrum, electromagnetic 2-3, 12, 17
Purging 61 Stefan, Josef 13
Pyrometer Stefan-Boltzmann constant 19
(see Radiation thermometer) Stefan-Boltzmann equation 14, 19
Q Sterling cycle 50
Quantum theory 14 Surfaces,
R diffuse 22
Radiation, infrared non-ideal 21
definition 12, 18 specular 22
directional dependence 17, 21 T
discovery 12 Thermocouple
energy balance 19 compensation 38-39
historical uses 11 operating principles 38


intermediate temperatures, law of 39 Thermometer,

Thermocouple, infrared definition 24
accessories 66 invention 11
application guidelines 57 Thermowell 64
calibration 42 Thompson, William
configuration options 41 (see Kelvin, Lord)
installation guidelines 41 Thompson effect 38
operating principles 40 Transmissivity 22
Thermography, Transmittance 18
applications 49-52 Tungsten filament lamp
detector cooling 48 (see Calibration)
detector options 47 Two-color pyrometer
electronics 51 (see Radiation thermometer, ratio)
image analysis 50 W
operating principles 47 Wavelength 14
radiometric devices 47 Website resources 68
resolution 49 Wien, Wilhelm 14
viewing devices 47 Wien’s displacement law 20
Thermopile 31 Wien’s law 20


List of Figures
Section 1 3-16. Microprocessor-Based IR Thermometer 36
A Historical Perspective 3-17. Surface Temperature Pyrometer 37
1-1. The First IR Thermometer 10 Section 4
1-2. Glass Manufacture Using Visual IR Infrared Thermocouples

Temperature Measurement 11 4-1. Thermocouple Operation 38

1-3. Newton Splits, Recombines White Light 12 4-2. Equivalent Thermocouple Circuits 39
1-4. Herschel Discovers Infrared Radiation 13 4-3. Typical Thermocouple Installation 40
1-5. The Sidewinder Missile’s IR Guidance System 14 4-4. IR Thermocouple Output 41
1-6. IR Optics for Missile Guidance 15 Section 5
Section 2 Fiber Optic Extensions
Theoretical Development 5-1. Fiber Optic Probe Construction 43
2-1. Radiation Energy Balance 17 5-2. Typical IR Fiber Optic Probe 44
2-2. Spectral Distributions 18 5-3. Multipoint Pick-up Assembly 44
2-3. An Isothermal Blackbody Cavity 20 5-4. Fiber Optic Cable Construction 45
2-4. Planck Prediction of Blackbody Emissive Power 21 Section 6
2-5. Soda-Lime Glass Spectral Transmittance 22 Linescanning & Thermography

Section 3 6-1. Linescanner Operation 46

IR Thermometers & Pyrometers 6-2. 1-D Scans Composited Into a 2-D Image 47
3-1. Traditional Infrared Thermometer 24 6-3. 2-D Thermographic Camera 49
3-2. Effect of Non-Blackbody Emissivity 6-4. The Stirling Cycle 50
on IR Thermometer Error 25 6-5. Spatial Resolution of a Thermographic Camera 51
3-3. Blackbody Radiation in the Infrared 26 Section 7
3-4. The ‘Two-Color’ IR Thermometer 27 IR Thermometer Calibration

3-5. Beam-Splitting in the Ratio IR Thermometer 28 7-1. A Spherical Blackbody Cavity 53

3-6. Ratio Pyrometry Via a Filter Wheel 28 7-2. Effective Emissivity of Spherical Cavities 54
3-7. Schematic of a Multispectral IR Thermometer 29 7-3. Typical Tungsten Lamp Filament 55
3-8. Optical Pyrometry By Visual Comparison 30 Section 8
3-9. An Automatic Optical Pyrometer 31 Products & Applications
3-10. Relative Sensitivity of IR Detectors 32 8-1. Ambient Effects on IR Thermometer Accuracy 58
3-11. Typical Optical Systems 33 8-2. Sighting on a Specular Surface 59
3-12. IR Transmission of Optical Materials 34 8-3. Use of Shielding and Cooling 60
3-13. IR Transmission Characteristics 35 8-4. Accessories for Furnace-Wall Installation 61
3-14. Field of View 35 8-5. Compensation for Elevated
3-15. Typical Narrow and Wide Angle Sighting Paths 36 Ambient Temperatures 62

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