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Infrared and Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas are enclosures that makes use of infrared rays to provide penetrating heat to the user.  The benefits of infrared saunas that have been in cited medical journals or various web sites include

How Infrared Saunas Work

Far Infrared Rays (FIR) penetrate the skin and are absorbed by deeper tissues.  Where FIR is absorbed, it is transformed into heat.  Heating deeper tissues is thought to give rise the benefits mentioned above.

Infrared Light

Infrared light is one of seven categories of electromagnetic radiation.  Infrared wavelength lies between visible light and microwaves.  “Near infrared” is closest to visible light, while “far infrared” is closer to microwaves.  Near infrared rays have shorter wavelengths measured in thousandths of a millimeter - about the size of the diameter of a cell.  Far infrared rays are longer, as much as 1 millimeter – about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. Our eyes are sensitive only to wavelengths much shorter than near infrared and we do not see infrared light.

Infrared radiation is not heat. It is invisible light transmitted by heated objects.  Heat is a measure of the energy of motion of the particles of a substance.

Other Applications

Night Vision: Infrared imagery can be used to enhance vision when there is not enough visible light to distinguish objects from their background, or when vision is obscured by smoke. In much the same way that a camera detects visible light and produces an image on a screen, infrared detectors help produce images on a monitor. Warmer objects are given a different color on the monitor and so can be distinguished from their cooler background.

Thermography: Similar to night vision, infrared pictures can be taken by remote sensing devices such as may be aboard satellites. These pictures may be used to report weather for large regions, or to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy crops.

Communications: Infrared diodes or lasers can be used to transmit signals in much the same way antennas are used to transmit radio waves. Television remotes communicate your preferences to the television, PDA's send information to printers, optical fibres send information over long distances.

Spectroscopy: Different frequencies are absorbed or emitted by different types of bonds within molecules. Studying the absorption characteristics of a material informs us about the molecular structure of a substance and is useful in determining chemical composition, without destroying the material.

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