electronic international standard serial number (EISSN)
Fire resistance tests are commonplace in industry. The aerospace sector is particularly active in this area, since the behaviour of advanced materials, such as composites, when in a fire is not fully understood yet. Two of the main obstacles are the inherent difficulty of direct surface measurements in such a harsh environment (especially on the exposed side of the specimens) and the lack of spatial resolution of the usual measuring devices, namely thermocouples (TCs). This paper presents a way to overcome these problems by using an infrared (IR) camera to study the exposed side of composite plates exposed to fire. A method for minimizing the effect of the flame (thus making it as 'transparent' as possible) was developed, resulting in 2D temperature maps of the plate surface. The assumptions that the method relies on were verified by data analysis and ad hoc emission&-transmission experiments. The errors associated with two slightly different versions of the method were studied, and comparisons with TC measurements were performed. It was found that the IR method provides better results than TCs, not only due to its spatial resolution capability but also because of the non-intrusive nature of IR thermography, as opposed to the local effects caused by TCs, which became evident during the experiments.