Thermal Engineering Lab

Vanderbilt University

Thermal Image Gallery

Most of these images were collected using our Mikron ThermoTracer TS7300 purchased in 2004. It has been a workhorse for a myriad of projects including research, education, outreach, verification and validation, and proposal fodder. As of 2015, we purchased a Flir A655sc with better resolution and frame rate. Here is a sampling of the projects that have benefited from both cameras capability.
Please contact Greg Walker if you would like to use either thermal imaging system for your project.
The CAOS lab is drilling into a skull segment to access the cochlea for an implant. The image is of a mockup of a surgical procedure, and the splatter is material expelled by the drill bit.
(November 2015)

The Towse lab is looking for brown adipose tissue in adults to study the how humans convert and burn different kinds of fatty tissues. The image is of the upper chest where brown adipose tissue is thought to accumulate in adults. Vasculature as well as the lower face can be seen in the image.
(October 2015)

The CAOS lab graciously purchased a 50 micron closeup lens for the camera. Our first image was of a uniform temperature stainless ruler with black fiducial marks. The difference in emissivity shows up as an apparent 6 degC temperature change. When one evaluates the resolution of the camera using the acquired image (working distance of 6cm), we calculate a 40 micron/pixel resolution.
(October 2015)

The Jansen lab (at Biomedical Photonics at Vanderbilt) is characterizing the thermal depth profile from an infrared laser in a tissue-like phantom. An optical fiber delivers the infrared laser to our phantom. Using an infrared camera, we can monitor the maximum temperature and the change in the thermal profile as a function of time. This allows us to assess which laser pulse parameters may be safe to use in animals and humans.
(December 2015)

Currently we are testing infrared thermography as a diagnostic tool for infant circulatory systems. Infacts who undergo traumatic surgery are often plagued with perfusion problems that limit their survival. Thermal snapshots can indicate problems minutes before other physiological indicators are triggered saving newborn lives. Unfortunately images are not available due to patient privacy protection.
(April 2015)

Stephanie Weeden-Wright is directing a group of high school students in a research project to improve the thermal control of a greenhouse. The house was built and is managed by The Nashville Food Project, a non-profit charity that supplies fresh food for poor families in the Nashville area. The research project looked at ways to improve the thermal storage to maintain a more constant temperature with less energy for the plants in the greenhouse.
(April 2015)

The inch gage length sample, made of highly-alloyed austenitic steel, was photographed for adiabatic heating during high strain-rate tensile testing. The movie of one such test also contains the slo-mo.
Wittig group (January 2015)

The heat emitted at the exhaust of a deisel engine provides an opportunity for energy scavenging via thermoelectrics. Traditional recovery designs utilize exhaust gas downstream of the exhaust manifold where the exhaust gasses have already cooled some. Using radiation from the engine compoenents can make generation more efficient.
NSF proposal (June 2010)

Measuring the temperature of components in a hairdryer aids in the development of convection correlations and helps us understand combined radiation/convection heat transfer.
Class project (October 2012)

Convection in a commercial liquid-cooled chip cooling solution can be evaluated by measuring the temperature of the cooling block and fluid lines. In this experiment we use nanofluids to test whether alumina nanoparticles can improve the thetmal characteristics of the cooling block.
ORNL (December 2009)

In friction stir welding the temperature of the tool is critical to understanding the welding mechanisms. In the image you can see the reflection of the IR emitted from the tool off the workpiece.
NASA (September 2009)

The performance of a large single fin (metal plat welsed to a pipe) was tested while liquid nitrogen flowed through the pipe. The project was sponsored by NASA as a senior design project. The researchers wanted to determine whether standard correlations and fin equations could be used to predict the performance of a recovery system during liquid fuel boil-off. You can even see evidence of the cold nitrogen plume ejected from the end of the pipe.
NASA (April 2014)

Thermal imagery was used to corroborate an ultrasonic temperature measurement test. In the test, a spot heater was used to produce local heating on a metal plate (the primary spot). The second spot is actually the reflection of the temperture on the back side of the plate, so both front and back temeratures could be measured simultaneously in the same thermal map. This technique was also used to validate the 3D conduction model.
Industrial Measurement Systems, Inc. (November 2009)

Thermal imagery has been used to help students understand infrared emission, thermal radiation, radiative properties of surfaces, temperature distributions due to conduction, transient heat transfer and more. Plus it has a great gee-whiz factor to engage students in science. The students at Stratford High (Nashville, TN) pose for the camera after a lecture and demo for their science class.
Office of Science Outreach, Vanderbilt University (April 2011)

The temperature of the pellets in a thermoelectric device (TED) can be seen in this image. Using this technique, we can evaluate the performance of the TED as well as validate the one-dimensional conduction assumption.
NSF (June 2008)

A disk drive read/write structure is imaged to locate and measure the temperature of the heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) device. The head (rectagular area) area in the image is less than 1mm. A close-up lens (50um) was used to capture the small scale features. This commercial device (Lightning Bug) was provided by Seagate as a benchmarking study to identify temperature measurement candidates.
Seagate (January 2014)

In power electronics, failure due to an ion strike can be seen as a hot spot when the device is powered (orange spot in the bottom corner of the DUT). Otherwise, evidence of damage is difficult to ascertain.
Radiation Effects and Reliability Group, Vanderbilt University (January, 2009)

High speed pulsed heating of a nichrome wore was captured at 60fps. The image shows the temperature at the peak heating of the wire. The data were used to estimate heating rate, which was used to predict, through an inverse procedure, the heat flux of the cooling wire. Heat flux is a notorious difficult quantity to measure directly.
ORNL (July 2005)

A light bulb filament was heated with a low DC voltage to achieve a relatively high heating rate (200 C/s). At 60fps the heating rate was extracted. A 50um closeup lens was used to increase the spatial resolution.
ORNL (August 2005)

One image per minute was captured over the course of 24 hours to see how the adjacent parking garage and trees heat and cool throughout the day and at night.
Outreach demo (June 2008)

The temperature of a tool used for friction stir welding during plunge was measured to evaluate how the plunge rate affects the temperature and whether that temperature is related to weld quality.
NASA (March 2010)

A computer chip is powered to identify the logical compute area.
RER group(January 2010)

The uniformity of flat heaters was tested to to determine the validity of a one-dimensional conduction soution. If the image shows non-uniform temepratures across the device, the 1D assumption must be challenged.
Class project (January 2013)

Combustion synthesis of phosphor materials is a chaotic and uncontrollable process. The image is from a video that shows how the reactants (inside a beaker that is sitting on a hot-plate), heat and how the combustion proceeds. The hot region indicates the initiation of combustion.
ORNL (June 2008)

Copyright 2014 Vanderbilt University