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Old 01-11-2016, 23:13   #1
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Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

I thought I would post some thermal images I have taken over the past few months to show my fellow boaters things that I have found in marine surveys I have come across in the field. Some of these images are good examples of things to watch out for and shows how valuable proper thermal imaging is in marine surveying:



The thermal image above is a loose fiberglass molded insert on the keel of a catamaran that had come loose most likely from beaching the vessel or running it aground.



The thermal image above is fiberglass delamination in the deck of a center console vessel. The lighter orange areas show where the deck has delminated around the base of the T-top support.



The thermal image above is of fiberglass tabbing on the interior of a sailboat that ripped up away from the hull from a hard impact at the chine of the vessel. The lighter orange color shows the spacing where the thermal radiation (heat) is passing through faster proving the fiberglass tabbing / transverse frame is raised up and separated from the hull.



Above is a Volvo GXi six cylinder gasoline marine engine running at WOT when this thermal image was taken during a engine survey. Notice the high heat area around the exhaust manifold. When the manifold was dissasembled after the sea trial I found the exhaust gasket had worn away allowing the water and exhaust ports to leak causing the overheating. A gasket replacement and proper torquing of the replaced manifold bolts fixed this problem. Luckily there was no other damage from the overheating.

Also one other side note: If you do hire a marine surveyor and he plans to use infrared thermal imaging, be sure that he is using a high quality infrared thermal imaging camera (in my professional opinion at least a 160 x 120 pixel camera with a minimum thermal range of -4 - 1,200 degree Fahrenheit range) such as a Flir or Fluke brand camera (if a Flir camera, at least a E40 model or higher camera). Anything less will not properly catch anomalies especially when using on engines running under a heavy load. The phone attached Flir cameras do not cut it and are to small in pixels and to low in temperature range to be effective or reliable. Also be sure the surveyor you are hiring is at least a certified level one infrared thermographer from a reputable training program (such as ITC or Infraspection). Do not be afraid to ask to see a copy of their thermography certification. Lately I have had clients come to me for second opinions that had thermal imaging jobs done by so-called marine surveyors who claimed they were certified thermographers (which after some research had ZERO thermal imaging training and in fact were not certified thermographers although their websites and reports claimed they were). The surveyor(s) in question completely missed obvious anomalies on their own thermal images or worse, mis-took reflective objects in the thermal images for anomalies that did not exist! Do your homework, verify reviews and credentials before hiring a marine surveyor. Just like mechanics or doctors, there are good ones, and there are bad ones.
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Old 02-11-2016, 00:04   #2
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

From an uneducated point of view, it appears that the interpretation of the image is far more difficult than the acquiring of it!

The images are interesting, but to me, do not impart much knowledge. Your analysis of the faults shown is black magic as far as I can tell, so I am well impressed with your skills.

Keep up the good work, and when you have interesting ones, please continue to post them here for us to wonder at!

Jim
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Old 02-11-2016, 00:06   #3
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
From an uneducated point of view, it appears that the interpretation of the image is far more difficult than the acquiring of it!

The images are interesting, but to me, do not impart much knowledge. Your analysis of the faults shown is black magic as far as I can tell, so I am well impressed with your skills.

Keep up the good work, and when you have interesting ones, please continue to post them here for us to wonder at!

Jim
Thank you Jim. I appreciate the complimemt. Will do.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:03   #4
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

Some really interesting stuff, to be sure. It makes me curious to play with some of the cameras & other hardware, as the last time I had the chance was a couple of decades back. And the gear was optimized for other uses (firefighting).

Have you done much work imaging spars? Carbon fiber, & wood, specifically. As I'm curious what kinds of things can be determined, & what can't. Like rot eating a wooden spar from the inside, for example. That could be a handy one. Ditto on detecting damage in carbon spars.

Not to impose, but I'm sure that lots of folks besides me would love to see more images, along with their 'captions'. Ditto on what you find to be the most effective techniques for spotting issues. Meaning things that you do in order to maximize what the camera can see. Tricks of the trade as it were.

Thanks for sharing this.
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Old 02-11-2016, 01:14   #5
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Some really interesting stuff, to be sure. It makes me curious to play with some of the cameras & other hardware, as the last time I had the chance was a couple of decades back. And the gear was optimized for other uses (firefighting).

Have you done much work imaging spars? Carbon fiber, & wood, specifically. As I'm curious what kinds of things can be determined, & what can't. Like rot eating a wooden spar from the inside, for example. That could be a handy one. Ditto on detecting damage in carbon spars.

Not to impose, but I'm sure that lots of folks besides me would love to see more images, along with their 'captions'. Ditto on what you find to be the most effective techniques for spotting issues. Meaning things that you do in order to maximize what the camera can see. Tricks of the trade as it were.

Thanks for sharing this.
Hi, Yes, I have done thermal imaging on spars, carbon fiber, and wood. All anomalies in these elements can be seen (thermal radiation). I am quoting from something I wrote on my website simplifying how thermal imaging works:

"Thermal imaging (also sometimes referred to as thermography, infrared imaging or thermal scanning) is the means by which humans can see the infrared portion of the light spectrum. Every object gives off some amount of thermal radiation so thermal imaging is ideal for observing temperature anomalies that are abnormal in machinery, electrical equipment, and even in solids such as wood, fiberglass, aluminum, and steel. Thermal imaging does not require light to see thermal radiation (like you would see in night vision cameras which require some amount of light) so thermal cameras can see in absolute darkness. Thermal imaging is used widely in law enforcement, security, the military, air and sea navigation, surveillance, firefighting, private industry, medicine, and science.

The tool used for thermal imaging is the thermographic camera, which is similar in appearance and operation of a portable digital video camera. I prefer using the FlirŪ brand infrared cameras. How an infrared camera works is by sensing electromagnetic waves within the light spectrum wavelength between approximately 0.9 and 14 micrometers (visible light that can be seen by the human eye is between .4 - .75 micrometers).
A special lens on the infrared camera focuses the infrared light emitted by all of the objects in view.

The focused light is scanned by a phased array of infrared-detector elements. The detector elements create a very detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram. It only takes about one-thirtieth of a second for the detector array to obtain the temperature information to make the thermogram.

This information is obtained from several thousand points in the field of view of the detector array. The thermogram created by the detector elements is translated into electric impulses.
The impulses are sent to a signal-processing unit, a circuit board with a dedicated chip that translates the information from the elements into data for the display.

The signal-processing unit sends the information to the color display on the camera, where it appears as various colors depending on the intensity of the infrared emission. The combination of all the impulses from all of the elements creates the infrared image. These impulses will also record surface temperatures of the image taken. Infrared cameras can be adjusted for optimum imaging by manually setting the distance to the object, humidity, and air temperature before the image is taken.

There are numerous benefits to thermal imaging in many industires. In the marine industry there are many advantages to thermal imaging. Some of these advantages are:
No contact is needed. Keeps the user out of danger.

It is two-dimensional. Thermographic temperatures can be measured at one point or a hundred or more points on a single thermographic image.

It is real time. Allows fast scanning and recording of stationary targets. Objects can not escape their own radiation.

Thermal patterns can be seen. This helps significantly reduce the time and money spent on a technician or mechanic that would have to spend hours to disassemble and troubleshoot a component or go through miles of wiring on a boat or yacht to find the problem. The thermographic image can find the temperature anomaly quickly.

Enhances the marine survey report. If desired, thermal imaging can be included in the survey report on components such as engines, transmissions, tanks, electrical equipment, electronic devices, and hulls to look for heat anomalies that can determine if malfunctioning components, leaks or delamination may exist within the vessel."


Below is a photo I took of a wooden boat with a gel coat exterior. In the thermal image you can clearly see the bronze nails holding the marine plywood together:



I will keep posting as I find interesting things both thermally and visually in the field.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:47   #6
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

Interesting stuff. I use a heat sensor (a cheap handheld thing with a laser pointer used to spot drafts in houses) quite frequently to determine if my top-loading fridge is working properly and also to read where my engine is relatively hotter or cooler. Of course, that's just a numerical readout. This is more elaborate. I think I got this on sale with a stud finder for $20:
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:58   #7
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

I am fortunate to have used Captain John Bannister to do two surveys for me and can attest to his competence and honesty when comes to surveys. The thermal readings helped a lot in our last survey. The boat was a dog and I was saved a lot of expensive heartaches by his findings. His work is state-of-the-art!!!
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:13   #8
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

Great stuff, John. this is exciting news, and supports sales of older boats by providing more info and more transparent inspection processes.


can a thermal image reliably find moisture in core? how about cracks in tangs, spars, swages?
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:38   #9
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

Very interesting as I've just bought a small Seek thermal camera which attaches to my mobile phone.

Seek Thermal XR Specification:
- 20 Degree Field of View
- Adjustable Focus
- Resolution: 206 x 156 Array
- -40C to 330C Detection
- < 9Hz
- Long Wave Infrared 7.2 - 13 Microns
- 12 Micron Pixel Pitch
- Vanadium Oxide Microbolometer
- Chalcogenide Lens
- Magnesium Housing
- Protective Waterproof Case

The camera seems to have a reasonable resolution but the temperature range is not as wide as suggested above.
So far I've been able to spot aircraft on approach and hot exhausts on boats on the river at around 1500 metres or more.
I'd never heard of thermal cameras being used to spot fibreglass problems but always thought it might work.
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Old 02-11-2016, 11:48   #10
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

This is great stuff. But, as already stated, this requires good understanding on what is happening in order to diagnose properly possible issue.

For instance, if part of a hull is under the sun and other part under the shade, the thermal signature will show that, but it might hide a possible defect or vice versa.

I believe you are looking for some inconstancy in the obtained thermal image while scanning the area. It turns out I had in my hand for a research project a Flir A600 series camera until last week. I wish I had the idea to use it and scan my boat for identifying potential weak points. Next time maybe.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:11   #11
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

Whow, John Bannister, thank you so much for posting it! This is awesome stuff, didn't know you could do all these things with thermal imaging!

I'm not at all interested in doing something like this as a profession, but, thinking of my own project (rebuilding my boat) and playing with it must be most useful, save a lot of time, headaches and nightmares.

How long would you reckon an average person would need to get reasonable results from it, and what would roughly be the pricetag for an equipment capable to deliver results one can do something with?

Thanks in advance
Fair winds & sunny greetings
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:18   #12
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

John, thank you for posting these images and captions. It's obvious that good tools are important but the skill and knowledge that comes with thoughtful experience is necessary to make the best use of the tools.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:25   #13
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

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Originally Posted by Emouchet View Post
This is great stuff. But, as already stated, this requires good understanding on what is happening in order to diagnose properly possible issue.

For instance, if part of a hull is under the sun and other part under the shade, the thermal signature will show that, but it might hide a possible defect or vice versa.

I believe you are looking for some inconstancy in the obtained thermal image while scanning the area. It turns out I had in my hand for a research project a Flir A600 series camera until last week. I wish I had the idea to use it and scan my boat for identifying potential weak points. Next time maybe.
Also different materials emit heat differently (emissivity). This will yield very different apparent temperature values on a FLIR display. There are tables to look up the emissivity of common materials to make adjustments, but they aren't easy to use when you have varied and aged materials. Using FLIR images to do non-destructive testing is a lot art and takes good experience with the objects you are viewing. Its easy to over interpret color changes on an image.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:36   #14
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Re: Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

I bought the Seek Reveal Thermal Imager (not the phone attachment) for about $300. As mentioned, one has to have some prior knowledge to interpret what they are seeing. As I'm a beginner at this, I use this in conjunction with a pin-less moisture meter and the old tapping brass hammer to determine what is going on under the fiberglass. Next time I drop by one of the boats, I will try to get some good shots using areas I know have rot and water intrusion.
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:55   #15
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Some Recent Thermal Images from Marine Surveys

My concern, being an owner of an old boat, is the possibility of mislabeling good old boats with bad inspections. Old boats didn't use vacuum sealing and other modern techniques so they may very well have voids or some delamination that doesn't actually effect the structural integrity of the boat by anything other than a negligible margin, especially compared to boats with just a skin layer.

Good on you for pointing out the importance of qualifications but that same person also needs to be versed in the qualities of a wide range of boats.
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