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  1. #1
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    Default TIC and Product Levels in Containers

    The following is from a previous post "TIC & Glass", I am starting this new topic so it better reflects the subject matter.

    Below are the first couple of posts that started the new discussion.


    Posted by CAPTJAB:
    I conduct a lot of training with my company with the use of TIC. I like to get a 3 man team together and place a hood over the leader with a hole cut out for the lens to stick through and have masks of the others blacked out. Then the leader has to direct the crews around the building using verbal communications. This helps to establish a standard form of communications with the team.

    You can also use it to look at the fuel levels in above ground tanks. The thermal layer will show up indicating the level of the contents. This works well with 305 and 306 tankers. We have 6 – million gallon tanks down the road from us and we train a lot with them.

    Also fill 6 different glasses with different temp water and have the guys look at how it will turn out on the TIC. Now take warm or hot water and splash it on the wall or floor and have the students look at it, this will simulate blood on the ground or walls.

    Be Safe and Be Pround

    ___________________________

    Posted by FIREMANJB:
    quote:
    ----------------------------
    Originally posted by captjab
    You can also use it to look at the fuel levels in above ground tanks. The thermal layer will show up indicating the level of the contents. This works well with 305 and 306 tankers. We have 6 – million gallon tanks down the road from us and we train a lot with them.

    Also fill 6 different glasses with different temp water and have the guys look at how it will turn out on the TIC.
    ----------------------------

    A thermal imager can identify product levels in sealed containers only if 4 conditions exist:
    a. the product must be a liquid or a solid
    b. the container must have a vapor space
    c. there is a temperature difference between the vapor space and the product
    d. this temperature difference is transferred to the exterior of the container.

    Pressurized gases as well as completely full or empty containers will not show a product level. Products that have no temperature difference, such as an unused propane tank on a cold day, will not show a level either. Insulated containers may make a reading difficult. Shiny, metallic storage containers may have reflections of the sun or the ground which make reading the level challenging.

    Solid training and regular practice are the best ways to ensure successful TI use.

    ___________________________

    Posted by DALITTLE:
    Jonathon:
    Just a couple of comments regarding resolving temp deltas in tanks (your post above):

    You are pretty much spot on with a couple of minor caveats,

    1. The tank contents do not have to be either a liquid or solid, it can be a gas.
    2. The tank does not necessarily have to have a vapor space. Could be liquid/solid or whatever.

    As many of us know, a thermal camera needs to have a temperature delta to see. That temp delta can be across dissimilar solids, liquids or gas. As we all now, some gas is heavier than others, as are liquids and solids.

    I agree that the temp deltas have to make their way to the outer surface of the container in some manner that exceeds the minimum temperature resolution of a camera.

    And lastly, another important consideration is the emissivity of the container itself. If the camera can’t see the tank properly because the tank reflects thermal energy, then all bets are off. You don’t have to have "perfect" emissivity, you just have to have enough to bring the temp deltas over the emissivity.

    Think of it, in electronic terms, as signal punching through the noise floor.

    Or think of it, in aviation terms, as a pilot making a low visibility approach for landing – the pilot does not need to see the runway completely, just that the runway lights need to punch through the fog to transition from instrument to visual. (John King should like this analogy...)

    How’s that for a useless technical description!

    Take care,
    David A. Little
    CEO
    The ISG Group

    _____________________________

    Posted by FIREMANJB:

    quote:
    ------------------------------
    Originally posted by dalittle
    Jonathon:

    Just a couple of comments regarding resolving temp deltas in tanks (your post above):

    You are pretty much spot on with a couple of minor caveats,

    1. The tank contents do not have to be either a liquid or solid, it can be a gas.
    2. The tank does not necessarily have to have a vapor space. Could be liquid/solid or whatever.
    ------------------------------

    David, I think you are wrong on #1. A gas is stored in a pressurized container and equalizes throughout the container, dropping its pressure as gas leaves. While a TI might show a leak in a container, because as the gas escapes, it cools the point of exit and eventually the container, it will not show a product level since there is no product level...just pressure equalized throughout the container. On #2, you are correct. I use the term vapor space since most materials for hazmat are not changing phase from solid to liquid...liquid to vapor is probably more common, or storage of a solid in an unpressurized container would normally have vapor above. In the case of a highly reactive solid, such as sodium, it would be possible to have a solid level (sodium) covered by a dense liquid to prevent exposure to water.

    quote:
    ----------------------------
    I agree that the temp deltas have to make their way to the outer surface of the container in some manner that exceeds the minimum temperature resolution of a camera.

    And lastly, another important consideration is the emissivity of the container itself. If the camera can’t see the tank properly because the tank reflects thermal energy, then all bets are off. You don’t have to have "perfect" emissivity, you just have to have enough to bring the temp deltas over the emissivity.
    -----------------------------

    Emissivity and reflectivity (essentially opposites) affect the image of the container as well as any temperature measurement device.

    _____________________________

    Please feel free to ask any questions or add any of your experiences using a TIC to try and identify a product level in a container.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Last edited by torichardson; 02-13-2004 at 02:39 PM.
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.


  2. #2
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    Between FIREMANJB and DALITTLE they have pretty much hit on everything but I will add some more to try and clarify.

    Can you identify a product level in a container using a TIC?

    Sometimes this will work, sometimes it will not. There is no definite answer of Yes or No, you must take each incident on a case by case basis.

    Whether you can detect a product level in a container can depend on:
    Product – its state (solid, liquid, or gas), its temp,
    Container – its construction (good conductor or insulator, surface emissivity or reflectivity)
    Environment – its impact on the container (heating, cooling, or causing reflections)
    The TIC – how sensitive it is, how it is using or adjusting its dynamic range

    As FIREMANJB and DALITTLE both explained the product in the container must be capable of causing a difference in temperature (Temp Delta in Engineering Terms) on the outside of the container for you to be able to detect a product level with the TIC. All of the factors listed above come into play as to whether or not that difference in temp can be created on the outside of the container and whether the TIC will be able to detect it.

    Common Scenario:
    Product – Liquid Container – 55 Gallon Metal Drum
    Assuming the container is not completely full to the very top, the liquid will contact the lower half of the drum and air or vapors will contact the upper half of the drum. Because liquids and gases conduct heat at different rates and the thin metal skin of the drum is a good conductor this will most likely cause the lower and upper parts of the container to be at 2 different temps. While this difference is very slight and we may not be able to detect it by touch the TIC may be able to detect the difference, and if it could then we would be able to “see” a product level.

    However:
    Container - If the drum was very thick or a poor conductor the different materials inside the drum may not impact the outside surface temp.
    Environment - If the drum was in direct sunlight, the heat or reflection from the sun may change or wash out any temp differences on the surface of the drum.
    TIC - If the TIC was focusing on not only the drum but the background which had a very diverse temp range it may not adjust its sensitivity or dynamic range so that it can detect the very minor temp difference on the surface of the drum.

    The moral of this story, BE VERY CAREFUL if you try to detect a product level with a TIC. This usually falls under Haz Mat and with everything else you do in Haz Mat you should always verify any piece of information you have through as many different independent sources as possible.

    I will add some additional post with images, as they say a picture can be worth a thousand words.

    If you have specific questions or have had any experiences please share them.

    Almost Forgot,
    In reference to the FIREMANJB and DALITTLE discussion about detecting product levels with gases, it is theoretically possible to do so but not a very likely scenario on the street. If you have 2 different gasses or vapors (air & Haz Mat product) in a container and they have 2 different vapor densities they may settle out and form 2 distinct layers in the container (if it was a pressurized vessel it would have an impact on the gases mixing or settling). If this is the case it is possible this could cause a difference in temp on the surface of the container. Is it very likely that this would happen? I would not bet on it, but theoretically speaking it could happen!

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  3. #3
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    Here is a common scenario:

    Container - 55 Gallon Metal Drum
    Product - Liquid Haz Mat

    As you can see the product level is clearly visible about a 1/3 of the way up from the bottom.

    You can see this product level because:
    Product - there are 2 different products or materials in this container, the liquid Haz Mat and the air or vapor space above it.
    Container – this is a metal 55 gallon drum which is a good conductor, so the materials inside it are impacting its outside surface temp, it is being cooled by the liquid at the lower part, versus the air at the top which is not impacting the temp.
    Environment – nothing in the environment is impacting the drum and the background around the drum is very similar in temp and stable. If this drum was outside in direct sunlight it may “wash out” the difference in temp making the product level no longer visible.
    TIC – this TIC is sensitive enough to pick up the difference in temp and it is not having to adjust its dynamic range to accommodate a large range of temp differences so it can detect the minor temp difference on the surface of the drum.

    The TIC is working in this case, but it may not work all of the time!
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  4. #4
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    Here is a water tower, you can see that it is full almost to the top.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  5. #5
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    Here is another one that shows a couple of things:

    Container on the Left - has a little product in it, and it is hot or warm

    Container in the Middle - is full about half way, and has a cold or cool product in it

    Container on the Right - NOT SURE! Could be full, Could be Empty, the TIC may not be able to get a product level. This is when you have to "back up and punt".
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  6. #6
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    Here is a good shot of an LP Tank, you can see the product level is about half way.

    This one could also be "false product level". False product levels can be caused by:
    Container – multiple layers or insulation that could impact the temp on the surface.
    Environment – direct sunlight or shading that causes a difference in temp on the surface of the container.

    In the image shown, the white on top could be caused by direct sunlight heating the top of the tank, and the dark on the lower half could be from shading that is cooling the lower half.

    How can you tell if it is a “False Product Level”, it can be very difficult, it comes down to experience, how much you know about the product & container, and how well you can “think the situation out”. Sometimes you have to play it safe and say you just can’t be sure.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by torichardson; 02-17-2004 at 12:39 AM.
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber SamsonFCDES's Avatar
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    Bump, this is very good info, hate to see it disapear down the line.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  8. #8
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    more great info and pics ! Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
    ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
    RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
    LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
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    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

  9. #9
    Protective Economist Jonathan Bastian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Weruj1
    more great info and pics ! Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!
    Almost all of the pictures that Mike (TORICHARDSON) has posted are available on our website, www.thermalimager.com. If you find other pictures that you have difficulty interpreting, post them here, and we can get you answers.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  10. #10
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    For those of you who may not know about it, www.thermalimager.com Bullard's Thermal Imaging Website has a lot of information on it. To the best of my knowledge it is the top resource online when it comes to the full spectrum of information on Thermal Imaging. For years this type of resource was basically nonexistent, but fortunately Bullard "Bank Rolled" my efforts for 3 years so that a website could be put together that would in turn hopefully help everyone use Thermal Imaging more safely and effectively.

    Some of the other manufacturer's websites such as www.isgfire.com ISG's website also have information on them that may be of use if you are looking to purchase a thermal imager.

    That being said, the information you will find on those websites is a great “starting point” and I hope Depts will use it to train their personnel to a "Basic or Awareness Level", however if not done "correctly" or followed up with some "quality" hands-on training that limited training may actually make a firefighter more willing to take unsound actions and place them at a very high level of risk. I STRONGLY recommend that personnel attend a “formal” training program that is run under the guidance of “qualified & experienced” thermal imaging camera operators. I am referring to the programs that are offered at conferences like FDIC & Firehosue Expo, State Training Programs like the one set up in Maine, and Training Classes conducted by companies like SAFE-IR. Even if you can only send 1 or 2 of your people to these types of training programs the wealth of knowledge and experience they can return with and share with everyone will make it well worth it. Videos, Power Point, and Magazine Articles are a good starting point, but they are no replacement for hands-on training one-on-one with a qualified instructor under realistic conditions.

    For those of you who are interested there will be TI Training at FDIC in Indianapolis in April. The Brothers from SAFE-IR will be doing a number of hands-on classes during the HOT Sessions (Mon-Tue) and I will be doing a Thermal Imaging Class during the Classroom Sessions (Wed-Fri). If you would like more information on these classes please contact SAFE-IR (info@SAFE-IR.com) or myself (captrichardson@hotmail.com).

    I believe we are all learning and benefiting from each here on the Forums, if you have a question or experience on Thermal Imaging please don’t hesitate to share it.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

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