Reflection and Refraction Experiment

Essay by iwin2000High School, 11th gradeA+, August 2008

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The purpose of this experiment was to test the validity of the Law of Reflection and Snell's Law (Also known as the Law of Refraction).

Reflection is defined as the reversal in direction of a particle stream or wave upon encountering a boundary. The law of reflection states that the angle of reflection and angle of incidence are equal, with each angle being measured from the normal to the boundary:

Refraction is defined as the bending of light that takes place at a boundary between two materials having different indices of refraction due to a change in the speed of light as it passes from one medium to another. The Law of Reflection (Snell's Law) states that the ratio of the sines of the angles of incidence and refraction is equivalent to the ratio of velocities in the two media, or equivalent to the opposite ratio of the indices of refraction:

The expected results that would need to occur to prove the validity of the Law of Reflection would be that when we conduct the experiment, the measure of the angle of incidence would have to be equal to the measurement of the angle of reflection, because this is what the Law of Reflection states.

The expected results that would need to occur to prove the validity of Snell's Law would be that as light passes the border between media, depending upon the relative refractive indices of the two media, the light will either be refracted to a lesser angle, or a greater one.


The materials that were needed for this experiment were: a table, a pencil, paper for notes, a...