Applications of radiative transfer

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Radiation measurement and remote sensing

Many devices based on radiative transfer are used for remote sensing of surface characteristics. These include IR cameras, optical pyrometers, satellite sensors and others. All view the radiosity leaving the observed bounding surface.

See Main Article Radiation measurement and remote sensing.

Atmospheric phenomena caused by scattering

Scattering of solar radiation does occur in the Earth's atmosphere. Even on a clear day, solar radiation is scattered from very small aerosol particles and even from molecules in the atmosphere. When the parameter \varsigma  = \pi D/\lambda {\rm{ }} is small, the scattering is a limiting case of Mie scattering called Rayleigh scattering, after Lord Rayleigh who derived the scattering relations using dimensional analysis.

See Main Article Atmospheric phenomena caused by scattering

Pollution and greenhouse effect

The band absorption properties of the chief absorbing components of the atmosphere (CO2 and H2O) are clustered in the infrared part of the spectrum. Remember that monatomic (argon) and homopolar diatomic (nitrogen and oxygen) gases do not absorb in the parts of the spectrum important for global energy balances. Both CO2 and H2O have strong absorption bands in the IR, and their ability to absorb depends in part on their concentration. Other polyatomic gases (particularly methane) have similar characteristics.

See Main Article Pollution and greenhouse effect


Faghri, A., Zhang, Y., and Howell, J. R., 2010, Advanced Heat and Mass Transfer, Global Digital Press, Columbia, MO.

Further Reading

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