Can Thermal Imaging See Through Concrete 2022?

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The concept of thermal imaging has been portrayed for several years in several industries at large. The thermal cameras are widely used in residential and commercial settings to see through various barriers. Having this in mind, several people have a false concept of thermal imaging in mind at large.

They have the idea that thermal cameras can see through any object on earth. However, this is not true as there are several barriers where these cameras cannot see through.  Can thermal imaging see through concrete? Let’s have an idea of the object’s thermal cameras can see through and though it cannot.

​Can Thermal Imaging See Through Concrete?

There are objects thermal cameras can see through while others cannot. But then, can thermal imaging see through concrete? This is not possible at all. However, other things like radiant heating bring about a temperature difference on surfaces that these devices can detect.


The thermal cameras rely on detecting the temperature and infrared wavelengths of an object to see through. Besides this, these devices cannot see through thicker objects where concrete is one of them. There are several reasons why they can’t see through concrete. We shall discover more about them in this project.

Why a Thermal Imaging Device Cannot See Through Concrete?

Before we get it clear why these devices can’t see through concrete, we need to know precisely how they function.

The thermal imager or camera has a lens to focus on infrared radiations or light an object emits. These images collect infrared radiations in the point they focus for further processing. A phased array of the detector scans the focused light, enabling it to create a temperature-based image. The image is in the form of patterns, usually referred to as thermograms.

The thermogram in the detector is further converted into electric impulses. These are further sent to the processing unit, where the signals are converted into useful data. This is what the users see on the screen to interpret further when there is a need.What-Can-Thermal-Imaging-Detect

Information in the thermal camera is processed fast to provide results. These devices scan fast and process everything in a split of a second. They can sense object temperatures of between -20 degrees Celsius to around 2000 degrees Celsius. Moreover, the thermal cameras can detect temperature changes at a rate of about 0.2 degrees Celsius.

Thermal cameras obtain information they process from the surfaces they focus. Any obstacle between the camera and the object leads to incorrect reading. These devices can also not get past any obstacle that is thick like concrete as such.

However, the items underneath concrete that can affect its temperature and other things can be detected by the thermal camera. These cameras can also help you see where the studs are located in indoor walls. However, it is impossible to see these suds all the time. This is because they fall at different temperatures to the surrounding air. The insulation between the studs also has an excellent detection effect of the wall surface temperature itself.

What Can Thermal Imaging Detect?

As we have learned, there are few things that thermal imaging can detect, and others cannot be detected. These devices rely much on the temperature and the infrared radiation of an object. In this case, you will be thinking about the point you can feel the heat from the opposite side of the subject’s object. Let’s demonstrate this to drive the point for everybody to get it.

Create a campfire and start feeling the warmth from it. Then, place a wall or any sturdy block between you and the campfire. You would have blocked the heat, but the wall will absorb some heat at large. The thermal camera will pick the heat the wall absorbs from the campfire. Let’s look further at what the thermal imagers can detect.


Thermal cameras can detect smoke at large. Be it either dense or less dense, these devices can detect them. In smoke environments, the firefighters usually use thermal cameras to navigate through.

Radiations can scatter in rain and fog at large. Even though this happens, the thermal cameras can easily see through fog and rain. This is why you will find most car manufacturers all over employing thermal imagers due to the powerful sensor they have.

Even though these devices can see through the concrete, things inside it can be detected. These are things like pipes and radiant heating that can bring about temperature changes on the structure.

Thermal imagers can detect the temperature of a matte material employed to polish a particular metal. However, they find it hard to detect shiny or polished metals. These metals reflect radiation and thus make it difficult to detect.

Lastly, thermal cameras can detect infrared radiation from plastics. However, this is only possible for thin plastics. Thicker ones will block infrared radiations, and thus the thermal cameras cannot detect them.

Wrapping It Up

Can thermal imaging see through concrete? We have learned that this is impossible. We have also gotten an idea of why these devices are not able to detect through concrete. Thermal cameras employ the heat energy emitted from an object to see through objects.

However, they can’t see through thick objects such as concrete, plastic, walls, and many others. The devices can see through several objects and elements, including smoke, fog, and rain, among others. The thermal cameras are great devices for detecting any kind of problem for us to fix before it develops big.

Richard Bevill

Author - Richard Bevill

Hi, I am Richard Bevill, I am a businessman and tech-blogger. I have a shop where I sell different types of thermal image cameras and their related accessories. Because of my business, I have to face so many clients of thermal image camera users. During my business hours, I find that many of my clients face difficulties with uses, maintenance, not getting the exact amount of service, buying the wrong one. All those problems they face because of their lack of knowledge about thermal image cameras. 

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