Watch engines warming up as captured by $55K thermal imaging camera

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If you have a newer car, your engine warms up pretty quickly. Driving something a bit more classically cool? That engine will stay cooler for longer as well, since it needs a bit more time to get up to operating temperature.

But aren't you curious what an engine would look like if you could watch it warm up through one of FLIR Systems' awesome—but pricey—thermal imaging cameras? Maybe you're even curious as to what FLIR stands for? Let's have Jason from Engineering Explained walk us through it all.

First off, you should know that FLIR stands for Forward Looking Infrared. It can detect infrared radiation that is being emitted as heat, which would otherwise be called thermal radiation. Your engine radiates plenty of heat, which is why it would be fun to point such a FLIR camera at it and watch it warm up.

Jason was able to borrow a FLIR T1K thermal camera and do just this. It was good that he could borrow it, since a new one will run you over $55,000. What you'll then have, besides a massive hole in your bank account, is a camera that can capture thermal radiation at temperatures ranging from -40 degrees up to 3,632 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using his Subaru Crosstrek and Honda S2000 as FLIR guinea pigs, Jason records five data points of heat captured in degrees Celsius. You'll see the engine oil filter, heater core coolant line, top of the radiator hose, front of the engine block, and the intake manifold. It's a fascinating sea of data that arrives visually and spelled out for you to see exactly what's going on as your engine comes to life.

 
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