PTCs are electrical resistors (thermistors) with a positive temperature coefficient. They change their resistivity up to seven orders of magnitude within a certain temperature range. Though these parts are only loaded electrically, they often fail due to thermo-mechanical stresses caused by Joule self heating. With the aid of an infrared camera system the temperature distributions of PTCs in service were investigated. They show a big variety in appearance, often strongly differing from the temperature distribution predicted by a model-calculation using homogenous material properties. The temperature distributions measured with the infrared system give information about gradients in material properties. Performing destructive tests by high electrical loading lead to fractures, which are initiated in the most stressed regions. Fractography was used to identify fracture origins. With the information of the fractography and thermal analysis of the infrared camera the FEM-model could be modified in order to understand different kind of fracture modes.