Infrared thermography analysis with a low-cost camera in plaster sculptures of museum collections

Rui Bordalo*, Salomé Carvalho, José Guilherme Abreu, Eduarda Vieira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Infrared thermography (IRT) is a non-destructive and non-invasive technique that provides the possibility to investigate the surface of sculptures for the detection of subsurface features and anomalies such as delamination, layer structure, fillings, and defects. IRT has been widely used in buildings and large structures, as well as in works of art such as bronze sculptures and paintings. This article describes the application of active infrared thermography, using a portable low-cost IRT camera, in the examination of plaster sculptures, a material where it has not yet been applied to. In particular, it was used in two plaster sculptures by 19th-century Portuguese artist Soares dos Reis, within a wider project (GEO-SR) aimed at the study of his work. The results indicate that thermography is a suitable technique with a great potential to detect alterations under the surface of plaster, revealing a new look into its manufacturing and conservation.
Translated title of the contributionAnálise termográfica por infravermelhos com câmara de baixo custo em esculturas de gesso em colecções museológicas
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2021


  • IRT
  • Sculpture
  • Plaster collections
  • GEO-SR project
  • Sustainability


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