The surface temperature of stainless steel SS304 low cycle fatigue specimens subjected to cyclic loading was studied using infrared thermography technique. The thermal data mapped onto the various stages of cyclic stress-strain curve shows the ability of these measurements to identify the yield points in both the compression and tension loading. Based on the results of this study, it is possible to identify the state of stress for materials such as elastic tension, plastic tension, elastic compression, plastic compression during cyclic loading using infrared thermographic data. The thermo-elastic slope and thermo-plastic slope was observed to be dependent on the prior loading cycles. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.