The Technical Division (TD) was originally formed in 1990 as the Thermal Methods TD, with a focus on dealing with the use of thermal measurements for the characterization of materials and the mechanical behavior of structures. At that time the focus of the Technical Division was on Thermoelastic Stress Analysis (TSA) and encompassed the American SPATE (Stress Pattern Analysis by Thermal Emissions) User Group.
Currently more attention is being focused on ‘thermomechanics’ where strong thermomechanical couplings that result in nonlinear behavior such as viscoelasticity, diffusivity and material phase changes are being studied, along with the more traditional areas of stress analysis, damage evaluation, NDE and failure assessments. Recent advances in infra-red detectors and imaging devices have enabled improved sensitivity and resolution. More reliable temperature calibrations of the devices have meant that more accurate data can be obtained than were previously available and coupled with a reduction in costs have marked a step change in the usage of thermal imaging in experimental mechanics.
In the light of the above recent advances, at the 2010 SEM Spring Conference it was decided realign the Technical Division so that it covers thermomechanics in its broader sense. The primary interest is still on the application of infra-red imaging but now with a view to including other imaging techniques in white and coherent light to elicit information from both thermal and mechanical loading scenarios and to define the coupling between both.
It is intended to launch the new TD by sponsoring a track at the 2011 SEM Spring conference and to continue the tradition of technical forums leading to the exchange of information. Plans for the future include the continuation of these activities and the integration of the TD participation into a short course on Infra-red imaging to contribute to the education aspects of Society activities.