IR reflective and Thermal films?

What are they and why does it matter to you?

Most importantly, each film will protect you.  But grasping their differences – the what and how they protect you will assure a much safer, successful, operation.

IR reflective and Thermal films are part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum: Near, Mid and Far Infrared. These infrared energies are invisible to the human eye.  To view them, you need a high tech camera, most often called a NVG, NOD, FLIR, or Thermal device. 

While technically thermal is part of the infrared spectrum, our common definition for IFF protection, distinguishes infrared from thermal.  IR reflective or Infrared is from the “Near” side of the spectrum. Thermal is from the “Mid and Long” side of the spectrum.  

Below are 4 key differences to consider when choosing your IFF (friend or foe) protection. 

1. Different cameras detect IR and Thermal films

Thermal film is detected by a Thermal Imaging Device or Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR).

Learn the difference IR and Thermal films

IR reflective commonly called “Infrared” is detected by Night Vision device. Most popular is the NVG.

2. Inside or Outside?

IR.Tools™ IR and Thermal films

Thermal film is most effective when used outside. It works best when the film looks towards a clear sky. Detection 24/7.

IR.Tools™ IR and Thermal films

Infrared film is effective inside or outside. But it is hard to see in well lit areas. The darker the better for your IR glow to stand out. 

3. How your eye views the infrared signature 

IR.Tools™ IR and Thermal films

Thermal film projects a black and white contrast to stand out from its surroundings. 

IR.Tools™ IR and Thermal films

Infrared film “glows”.   The glow detects who is who and where they are. 

4. Environmental Factors

IR reflective and thermal films

Thermal film is detected through smoke, fog and sandstorms. Water will temporarily disable film but will not damage it. 

IR.Tools™ IR reflective and Thermal films

Infrared film while versatile under most conditions, does lose reflection or glow in rain, smoke, fog.

Yes, Thermal and IR reflective films are from the same family… same DNA.

But their distinct differences and functions do matter to your safety and operation completion. 

And ultimately your family reunion. 

Don’t hesitate to contact me, Tom, I will discuss and discover which film is best for you.

Stay safe!

 The Author

Tom Boyer profile picture

Tom founded IR.Tools™ in 2006. He has embraced manufacturing premium IR patches, panels, thermal markers, and thermal targets to better protect and train the military and law enforcement communities. Always the innovator, he is always thinking out of the box. Currently he has 21 awarded patents, and 14 patents pending. Tom received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Univ. of MD, College Park and his MBA from Regents Univ.