Fire Technology

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 1309–1331 | Cite as

A Quantitative Infrared Imaging System for In Situ Characterization of Composite Materials in Fire Tests

  • Sergio Sánchez-Carballido
  • Celeste Justo-María
  • Juan Meléndez
  • Fernando López


A novel non-intrusive measurement system based on quantitative infrared imaging has been designed and developed specifically for the study of composite plates submitted to fire. The system consists of two synchronized infrared cameras that image both sides of the sample during a fire test, providing surface temperature maps spatially corregistered. Flame effects on measured temperature are minimized through selection of a spectral band with near negligible infrared absorption-emission (wavelength centre 9585 nm, full width at half maximum 135 nm), as well as software post-processing. An ad hoc experiment has shown that this procedure retrieves surface temperatures with an uncertainty of \(\pm 5\) K, compared to a systematic error larger than 60 K for a classic thermographic measurement. Surface emissivities of both sides of the sample are measured and included in the retrieval procedure. By adding a flash lamp, the system implements an adaptation of the classical Parker’s flash method to thermally thick samples, providing also a map of thermal diffusivities along the sample both before and after the burning. In the region most degraded by fire, the effective thermal diffusivity is reduced approximately one order of magnitude as compared to the pre-test value (from 5.9 × 10−7 m2 s−1 to 0.5 × 10−7 m2 s−1). Several composite samples have been analysed while exposed to fire in different conditions, showing that thermal diffusivity after the burning shows a strong correlation with the local maximum temperature reached during the test. More precisely, in the temperature range between \(\sim \)325 and 350\(^{\circ }\)C a drastic change in diffusivity seems to takes place, in a way that suggest a phase change.


Infrared imaging Thermography Fire Thermal properties Composite 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Sánchez-Carballido
    • 1
  • Celeste Justo-María
    • 1
  • Juan Meléndez
    • 1
  • Fernando López
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversidad Carlos III de MadridLeganesSpain

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