Project Director

Margraves, Charles

Department Examiner

McDonald, Gary; Elliott, Trevor; Frost, Linda


Dept. of Mechanical Engineering


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The task for this project was to design and construct a system that could be used to examine heat transfer through a surface by analyzing images produced using thermal imaging cameras. A long rectangular box made of pinewood was constructed and a light bulb was inserted to provide a heating element. The front face of the box was made to be interchangeable so that various materials could be tested. Two Flir I5 thermal imaging cameras were used to take pictures of both sides of the front face at specific time intervals in order to determine the temperature distribution of the face. This temperature distribution was related to a heat flux using Fourier’s Law to calculate the heat flux, heat rate, and heat loss through the front face. An algorithm was developed using Matlab software specifically for this apparatus to analyze the data from the cameras. A data acquisition system and thermocouples were used to track the heat transfer through the air and other portions of the box. Insulation was used for various tests to show the effects of insulation and how it can direct heat flow. The tests conducted for this project successfully showed how energy is transferred through different mediums and how it can be directed by using insulation. The final project deliverables for the complete system were the box, camera stand, two thermal imaging cameras, thermocouples, DAQ system, LabVIEW program, Excel workbook, and Matlab algorithm. There is plenty of room to expand and improve on the current system and create more opportunities to study different types of heat transfer. Dr. Margraves plans to use this system for future student engineering laboratory experiments, as well as demonstrations for summer youth programs.


I want to give a special thanks to Dr. Charles Margraves for serving as my project director. I have often said that the type of work and projects that I am involved with are not nearly as important as the people I collaborate with. I could not have asked for a better director; thanks for always being willing to help and work with me through the challenges of this project. Thanks to my committee: Dr. Gary McDonald, Dr. Trevor Elliott, and Dr. Linda Frost. I cannot express enough gratitude for your support and encouragement throughout the project. Thank you for your valuable suggestions and challenges that helped push me to grow in my learning. I offer my sincerest thanks to my project team: Cody Snyder, Saama Davies, and Hannah Grisanti. I give special thanks to Cody for helping with portions of the Matlab Code and with construction. Thanks to Saama for purchasing parts and helping with construction. And thanks to Hannah for helping with construction and with the DAQ and LabVIEW interface. This project could not have been completed without your help. I wish you all the best of luck in your engineering careers. My completion of this project could not have been accomplished without the support of my wonderful parents, Ken and Katrina True. Thank you for your constant encouragement and understanding of my limited free time due to school. Hanna, my loving and caring wife, thank you for your encouragement and support during my late nights and long weekends of work. Having you by my side throughout this project has been more of a blessing than you could know. I cannot imagine doing this without you. Above all, I give the greatest thanks to my savior Jesus Christ, for blessing me beyond what I deserve, and giving me opportunities to study His creation; none of this would be possible without Him.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Thermography; Heat -- Transmission


Thermal imaging; Heat flux; Heat transfer; Infrared; Flir; Image


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



59 leaves