Thermochromic liquid crystals (TLC) and true-colour digital image processing have been successfully used in non-intrusive technical, industrial and biomedical studies and applications. Thin coatings of TLC at surfaces are utilized to obtain detailed temperature distributions and heat transfer rates for steady or transient processes. Liquid crystals also can be used to make the temperature and velocity fields in liquids visible by the simple expedient of directly mixing the liquid crystal material into the liquid (water, glycerol, glycol, and silicone oils) in very small quantities to use as thermal and hydrodynamic tracers. In biomedical situations, e.g., skin diseases, breast cancer, blood circulation and other medical application, TLC and image processing are successfully used as an additional non-invasive diagnostic method especially useful for screening large groups of potential patients. The history of this technique is reviewed, principal methods and tools are described and some examples are presented. Also steady-state and transient liquid crystal thermography (LCT) is used to measure local heat transfer on a plate equipped with transverse vortex generators. Automated evaluation allows determining the heat transfer coefficient without arbitrary influence of human interpretation.
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