Infrared thermal imaging method was applied for the development of a non-destructive inspection technique to determine the quality of resistance spot welds. The current work is an initial feasibility study based on post-mortem inspection. First, resistance spot welds were fabricated on dual phase steel sheets (DP 590 steel) with carefullycontrolled welding parameters. It created welds with desirable and undesirable qualities in terms of nugget size, indentation depth, and voids and cracks. Second, five different heating and cooling methods were evaluated. The heating or cooling source was applied on one side of the weld stack while the surface temperature change on the other side of the weld was recorded using an infrared camera. Correlation between the weld quality and the "thermal signature" of each weld was established. Finally, a simplified thermal finite element analysis was developed to simulate the heat flow during inspection. The thermal model provided insight into the effect of the nugget size and indentation depth on the peak temperature and heating rate. The results reported in this work indicate that the IR thermography technique is feasible for weld quality inspection due to the distinguish temperature profiles for different welds and the repeatability and consistency in measurement.© (2009) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.