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(thûr'mŏg`rəfē), contact photocopying process that produces a direct positive image and in which infrared rays are used to expose the copy paper. In a specially designed machine the original is placed in contact with a copy paper containing a heat-sensitive substance. As the infrared rays produced in the machine impinge on the dark or printed regions of the original, the heat generated is transferred to the adjoining areas of the sensitive paper. These areas become dark as well, creating an image of the original. As infrared rays are difficult to focus, the image formed is lacking in sharpness, resolution, and detail. The copies remain sensitive to heat, so that they may darken further with age. The advantages of this process are that it is low in cost and fast and can be performed with simple equipment.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) In the broad sense, the recording of the heat field of objects—that is, the field of their infrared radiation.

(2) See (in photocopying).



(in photocopying), a copying process based on the ability of heat-sensitive materials to change their state under the action of heat—in this case, infrared radiation. In the case of direct, or thermochemical, copying, copies are made by the contact method on thermal copy paper, using transillumination or reflected radiation. In transfer copying, copies are produced on a copy base, using thermal copy paper or film. In both cases, copies may be made from originals in india ink or black pencil or from typewritten or typeset material; the elements of such originals are capable of intense absorption of heat.

Upon exposure to infrared radiation, the light—that is, blank—portions of the original reflect most of the rays, whereas the dark portions absorb the rays and thus are heated. In contact thermography, heat from a heated element of the original causes a chemical reaction in the sensitive layer of the thermal copy paper, with which it is in contact, resulting in the formation of a dark contrast substance. In transfer thermography, the sensitive layer of a thermoplastic film or thermal copy paper melts under the action of heat and is transferred to the copy base.

Copies on thermal copy paper darken with time as a consequence of the action of heat and light on the nonprinting elements, which remain heat-sensitive; therefore, the storage life of such copies is limited. Thermoplastic copying makes possible the production of printing plates to be used in small-job printing; in addition, it makes possible the production of copies for prolonged storage.


Alferov, A. V., I. S. Reznik, and V. G. Shorin. Orgatekhnika. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A method of measuring surface temperature by using luminescent materials: the two main types are contact thermography and projection thermography.
(graphic arts)
A photocopying process in which the original copy is placed in contact with a transparent sheet and is exposed to infrared rays; heat from carbon or a metallic compound in the text ink then causes a chemical change in a substance laminated between the transparent sheet of paper and a white waxy back.
Photography that uses radiation in the long-wavelength far-infrared region, emitted by objects at temperatures ranging from -170°F (-112°C) to over 300°F (149°C). Also known as thermal photography.
A medical imaging technique based on detection of heat emitted by the body.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The process of converting temperature changes of a scanned scene into a visual picture.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
References in periodicals archive ?
Baseline sensors include a high-definition thermal imager and HDTV, while optional systems include an eye-safe range finder, short-wave thermal imager and a day/night backup camera.
"We worked to integrate CNX with thermal imagers to create state-of-the-art technology, which not only gives accurate readings but also helps with reporting, tracking and documentation.
If the cost still seems steep or you want to test the tool before purchasing one, some utilities, cities, or large companies have a tool library where you can rent or check out a thermal imager, notes Woodroof.
The portable thermal imager model project was one of the most expensive product development programs in the company's 50-year history.
Thermal imagers have soundly taken over the market for armored-vehicle night vision, at least in the US, where even trucks are now being equipped with thermal driving viewers.
The FOS incorporates FLIR's thermal imager, a laser range finder, GPS, goniometer, tripod and, in some systems, a north-seeking gyro.
The heat generated by the growing operation escapes from the home and can be detected from outside the home using a thermal imager. The thermal imager converts infrared radiation, which is invisible to the naked eye, into images that depict the relative temperatures of the object scanned--dark areas on the image are cool; light areas are hot.
Made of GE Plastics Ultem polyetherimide (PEI) resin, the Bullard Thermal Imager can withstand the heat of a burning building, soldiering on to help firefighters locate survivors in the black smoke.
The pounds 2.2million chopper has a thermal imager which can detect suspects or missing people on the ground by body heat alone.
On show at the company's stand visitors will see a range of new products for non contact temperature measurement, including the Land Vanguard chill/fresh food temperature measurement system, the FT16 thermal imager and the Minolta/Land Cyclops Mini series of hand-held infrared thermometers.
Through a thermal imager hot things look white, warm areas appear grey and cold turns out black.
The majority of courts have ruled that the warrantless use of a thermal imager does not raise Fourth Amendment concerns.(1) Relatively few courts have ruled that the use of these devices without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.(2) Eventually, the Supreme Court will have no choice but to address this issue and rule on the side that has the support of prevailing constitutional analysis.

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