Active thermography via electromagnetic excitation is a non-destructive evaluation method with a wide range of applications. It is a quick and reliable means for detecting inhomogeneities like cracks at or close to the surface of conductive components utilizing infrared imaging. Electric current can be used in two ways for thermography: In induction thermography, a current is coupled to the component without contact by passing an alternating current through a coil which is in close proximity to the component inspected; in conduction thermography, the current is coupled directly with the component. In this paper, we present a review of the basics of this non-destructive evaluation method along with several component examples and examples of inspection system. In particular, automated testing is regarded. Additionally, sufficient detectability of cracks under low and high residual stress is discussed and compared with other surface testing methods.

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