Active Thermographic Coating Inspection System

Repair of coating failure prior to visible indications can result in lower repair costs and can quantitatively define areas needing repair. While thermography has been successfully used in other applications these current systems are too expensive, too complicated to operate, and are cumbersome to use as they consist of multiple separate components. There are presently no commercial systems that provide a fully-integrated thermographic inspection system suitable for bridge coatings. A new system described in this paper uses active thermography with an off-the-shelf embedded infrared (IR) camera module to rapidly image defect areas in coating systems, covering a wide area and providing easy-to-interpret images. This new system is easy to use and operate and offers a thermographic coating inspection system that is low-cost and accessible to the bridge inspection community and State Departments of Transportation. System performance, image processing techniques, and results of defect detection from system prototype testing are reported.

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