Why Your Temperature Readings Are Off: The Emissivity Factor Explained

Why Your Temperature Readings Are Off: The Emissivity Factor Explained

Qld Cal AdminMar 5, '24

In the intricate world of temperature measurements, understanding the concept of emissivity is crucial for professionals and enthusiasts alike. This article, aims to demystify the concept of emissivity and elucidate its importance in the realm of infrared temperatures and thermal imaging.

By familiarising yourself with the emissivity of different materials and learning how to ascertain the correct emissivity for accurate measurements, you'll be well-equipped to avoid the pitfalls of inaccurate readings.

So what is Emissivity?

Emissivity is a measure of a material's ability to emit infrared energy compared to a perfect emitter, known as a black body, at the same temperature. This property is pivotal when taking infrared temperatures and capturing thermal images because it influences how a material's temperature is accurately measured. Understanding emissivity is essential for professionals who rely on precise temperature readings in various applications.

Emissivity of Different Materials for Correct Measurements

Different materials have different emissivities, which can significantly affect the accuracy of temperature measurements if not properly accounted for. Metals, for instance, can have low emissivities, making them challenging to measure accurately without adjustments. Knowing the emissivity values of various materials allows for more accurate temperature readings and better decision-making in both industrial and research settings.

Measurements Taken with the Incorrect Emissivity Will Give Inaccurate Results

Using the wrong emissivity value when measuring a material's temperature can lead to significantly inaccurate results. This discrepancy arises because the infrared thermometer or camera assumes a different rate of infrared energy emission than what the material actually exhibits. Such inaccuracies can have profound implications, especially in critical applications like quality control, maintenance, and health and safety.

How to Find Out Which Emissivity a Material Is for Accurate Temperature Measurements

Determining the correct emissivity of a material involves consulting material emissivity tables, using an emissivity meter, or conducting a comparative measurement with a known reference. This step is crucial for professionals who depend on accurate temperature readings for their work, ensuring the reliability and validity of their measurements across a variety of surfaces and conditions.

In Short

Emissivity plays a vital role in the accurate measurement of temperatures, especially when dealing with infrared technology. By understanding and correctly applying knowledge of emissivity, you can significantly improve the precision of your temperature measurements, leading to better outcomes in your professional or personal projects.