Use of infrared thermography for detection of moisture sources in internal walls of buildings

Abstract The use of infrared thermography has become the theme of studies in several areas of the construction industry. However, research studies on detecting the presence of moisture in buildings are still under development. The main objective of this article was to study the feasibility of the use of thermography in the detection of infiltrations due to accidental causes in internal walls. The methodology consisted of the construction of masonry walls made of ceramic bricks with different coating configurations: uncoated, with plaster, plaster with latex paint, plaster with acrylic base paint and plaster with ceramic set with plaster glue. In each prototype, a drilled pipe was inserted to simulate water leaks. The infiltration progress was verified by means of thermograms, for a period of 2 hours with constant flow, and at 48 hours and one week after the beginning of the simulation. The results confirm that thermography may be effective in detecting the region containing the focus of hidden infiltration, provided the coating is not impermeable. This fact can be observed in the thermal gradients produced in the porous coatings, where ΔT ranged from 2.6 to 3.8 º C, whereas coatings with waterproof characteristics had a maximum ΔT of 2.2 ºC. In addition, the type of coating directly influences the time required for the appearance of the moisture spot to become apparent.