This paper compares experimental and heat transfer modeling results for thermography applications in building elements. Over the years most building envelope inspections using infrared thermography (IRT) have been focused on qualitative analysis using mostly passive thermography techniques. However, increased need for the monitorization and assessment of the energy performance and thermal behavior of buildings, along with ongoing structural safety concerns, has raised interest in quantitative studies and active IRT applications in buildings. Numerous other fields have benefited from developments in defect detection studies and from countless non-destructive testing applications. Pulse phase thermography, in which phase images are studied (instead of temperature images) using a long heating pulse have been proposed to be the most effective for Civil Engineering applications. However, the particular characteristics of building elements and materials, along with the complex nature of heat transfer phenomena, demand specific experimental procedures and processing techniques. In this paper, analytical solutions to simulate heat transfer in the frequency domain in multi-layered media are used to compute thermal wave phase results. These are compared to experimental IRT phase analysis results of experiments performed on test specimens simulating building elements with embedded defects. Crucial test parameters such as test duration and defect characteristics are changed and their influence is studied. In this way, this paper contributes to the understanding of building envelope thermal patterns using active IRT in defect detection studies and to the definition of test parameters.
An External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS) kit may include anchors to mechanically fix the insulation product onto the wall. Using this option increases safety when compared to a simple bonded solution, however, it is more expensive and needs higher labor resources. The insulation product is then coated with rendering, which applied to the insulation material without any air gap. The rendering comprises one or more layers of coats with an embedded reinforcement. The most common multi-coat rendering system presents a base coat applied directly to the insulation product with a glass fiber mesh as reinforcement, followed by a second base coat, before a very thin coat (key coat) that prepares the surface to receive the finishing and decorative coat. The thickness of the rendering system may vary between around 5 to 10 mm. The higher thicknesses may be associated with a reinforcement composed by two layers of glass fiber mesh.
The main purpose of this work is to apply infrared thermography (IRT) techniques to 2 ETICS solution (single or double layer of glass fiber mesh) and evaluate its capability in the detection of anchors. The reliability of IRT was tested using an ETICS configuration of expanded cork boards and a rendering system with one or two layers of glass fiber mesh. An active thermography approach was performed in laboratory conditions, in transmission and reflection mode. In the reflection mode halogen lamps and air heater were employed as the thermal stimulus. Air heater was also the source used in the transmission mode tests. The resulting data was processed in both time and frequency domains. In this last approach, phase contrast images were generated and studied.