Stress and Fatigue Analysis
For most of the past decade, the automotive industry also has used IR imaging systems as part of their stress analysis and metal fatigue evaluation program. Both applications use a lock-in thermography technique to make energy measurements that compliment visible imagebased correlation methods for stress analysis. Often, these two approaches are seen as competitive; however, that ignores the inherent differences in the spatial and energy measurements generated by visible and IR imaging systems. Lock-in thermography measures minute changes in temperature through Fourier analysis produced by the thermoelastic effect in stressed materials.
Improvements in spatial resolution, thermal resolution, size, cost, and energy consumption are widening thermography applications in the automotive industry. At the same time, greater understanding by IR camera makers of automotive applications is leading to new calibration, filtering tools, lock-in analysis, and peripheral I/O, making thermography systems more effective for real-world automotive applications.