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Next week a group of pupils (12-14 years old) will visit my institute. I would like to teach them about infrared radiation. Do you have any suggestion what kind of simply and impressive experiments I can show using thermographic camera? I've thought for example about:

  • "infrared handprint"
  • plastic bag which is transparent to infrared
  • glass which is opaque to infrared

I'm curious about your ideas.

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Maybe you can show them a light bulb.

When it is switched off I will look like any other object under the thermographic camera. Then you can switch it on (the camera becomes useless, switch it off) and tell them that the radiation coming from the filament of the bulb has changed because of the change in temperature. That's why we can see it. Finally you turn the camera back on, and the bulb off. You should see the IR picture slowly coming back as before as the filament cools down.

You could also leave another light bulb on for an hour before the kids arrive so that it becomes very hot. Then, you compare the hot bulb with another cold one and show them that you don't have to burn your fingers to identify the hot one.

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  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if the filament will be visible through the glass? $\endgroup$ – mc2 Sep 17 '14 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ Me to. You're the one who has access to a Thermographic camera. Check and tell us. $\endgroup$ – Steven Mathey Sep 17 '14 at 18:28
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This is rather commment to the Steven Mathey's answer, but is too long to put it in the comment section.

Here is the photo of cold bulb:

enter image description here

After switch on, as we supposed, the filament is not visible, but whole bulb becomes hot:

enter image description here

But generally idea to show bulb is interesting and for sure I will present it. Here is the photo with two bulbs. The bulb on the left is off, but hot and bulb on the right is on. So I will present "the method" of determining if the bulb is on or not by means of thermographic camera:

enter image description here

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