For Starters…What is Thermal ?

The simple definition?

Thermal is “something related to heat or temperature”.

Perhaps, this definition will take you back to 8th grade science class.  Thermal is part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the term used by scientists to describe the entire range of energy that exists. 

Most energy is invisible to the naked eye. Microwaves, radio waves, ultraviolet, and X-ray are examples of such energy.

In short, thermal (heat) is a form of energy that is invisible to your eyes. 

But thanks to advanced imaging technology (fancy cameras), you can see this “invisible” heat energy. Night vision devices give you the ability to see near infrared energy. And thermal imagers (FLIR) connects you to mid and far infrared (heat) energy.


 How Thermal Film Boost Military and Law Enforcement Operations 

Years ago, the military uncovered how infrared science strengthened friend-foe identification. In the end, reflective films, including thermal film was developed. 

The diversity and range of applications for thermal films continues to expand.  Inside, outside, day, night, thermal film strengthens security, protection, and identification within your operation. 

  • Boosts friendly fire identification
  • Eliminates confusion between ground to ground units
  • Sharpens air to ground communication
  • Pinpoints landing zone locations

So exactly how does the film maximize your results?

Without getting too technical or scientific, you have to remember the infrared energy is invisible to your eye. And is only seen with the help of a FLIR imaging device. By looking through the camera, the energy (heat) reflects off the film and becomes visible.

The film will “shout out” its location. You see a black signature in the camera.

Thermal film markers on Police Car


By attaching the thermal film to a vehicle, person, dog, or the ground, you instantly strengthens your operations communication.   

Therefore, your units can detect and determine how and where to proceed with an accuracy. A real advantage not available prior to thermal film technology. In the end, you protect and save lives. 

The use of thermal technology in your operation boosts the odds of a successful outcome.


The Upside of Thermal Film


  • Thermal film is effective 24/7. Day or night, this film makes a difference.
  • Thermal film can be used wherever thermal imagers are on hand. They are excellent for covert operations, search and rescue, specifying landing zones, target training,  and other applications.         thermal A12 on top of building
  • Eliminates confusion in city lights. Night operations in bright areas gain an advantage with thermal film.  The heat energy from the film is visible without the interference of blooming lights. 
  • No batteries or electric needed!  The film reflects the heat energy in the environment. Mother Nature is all the power you need!


The Challenges


While the upside of thermal film is well worth the investment.  There are some challenges to consider.

First of all, the film is visible in sandstorms, smoke, fog, dark, and rain. But water on the film will create a barrier. Operators will need to wipe the water off.  Water will not damage the film but for a time it is less visible.

The other challenge is cost. The cost per square inch is in line with other NVG IR films. But the amount of thermal film for equal detection is 2X – 10X greater.


Can You Trust Thermal Film?

4' TIP Panel thermal view

Yes you can.

The Military has confidently been implementing thermal film for 25 years.  They introduced the film in 1990 for Operation Desert Storm. And continue to use it for protection in combat operations.

Thermal markers and panels protect military vehicles. They are attached to the tanks, humvees etc… to prevent friendly casualties.  


And because of the uptick of NVG’s in the hands of the enemy, the military is trusting the film as a viable alternative for personal ID protection.

Thermal patches for personal ID are becoming part of the required infantry gear.



Thermal Film is Making a Difference

While you may need to study the science behind IR technology, one thing is for certain; thermal film is making a difference.

And Military and Law Enforcement communities are experiencing the difference.

Better protection + Better operation = Your going home 

Do you need IR protection?

We suggest you take some time to evaluate the advantages and challenges of the film. 

And give us a call

We will help you determine which product is right for your job.

Call Tom Boyer : 292-443-8885 or   


Browse the Thermal Products available from IR.Tools™


Personal ID





Vehicle ID

Training Targets

 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.