The thermal imaging camera detects the infrared energy emitted by all surfaces, converts this into temperature and lays the colour coded distribution of the values into a frame – also overlaid onto a digital image.
The most useful applications of thermography in existing buildings are:
To determine positions of concealed structural arrangements (timber frame behind render, joists above a ceiling or cavities in masonry for example).
To record distribution of temperature variation for environmental studies.
The evaporation of water from a surface will produce a cooling effect which can be detected by infrared analysis. As such, given suitable environmental conditions, a thermal imaging camera can be useful in the diagnosis of damp.