• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

refraction experiment

Extracts from this document...



Aim: To study the phenomenon of refraction of light by using a glass block.

Theory: Light is one of the most fundamental energy forms and an understanding of several of its properties is essential to any understanding of science. In this investigation we would be seeing the different phenomenon of refraction of light.Refraction is a change in the direction of radiation that occurs when it crosses the interface between two media in which the radiation travels with different speeds. The radiation undergoes a change in speed, in wavelength, and in direction. These are a few common terms in relation to refraction of light:

  • Reflection: the process by which radiation that strikes a surface separating two media of different densities is in part or in whole turned back into the medium from which it originated. The radiation rebounds from a barrier in its path without a change in speed.
  • Normal line: A line perpendicular to the surface at the point where a ray of light strikes.
  • Incident Ray: A ray which impinges upon a surface.
  • Refracted Ray: a ray that has changed direction after crossing from one media to another, in which the speed is different.
  • Emergent ray: the light ray leaving a medium in contrast to the entering or incident ray.
  • Angle of incidence: the angle between the incident ray and a normal.
  • Angle of refraction: the angle between the refracted ray and the normal line.
  • Index of refraction: the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum (c) to the speed of light in a different medium (v).
...read more.


This table shows us the refractive indices of different mediums:


Refractive Index














  • Glass block
  • White sheet of paper
  • Thumb pins
  • Laser
  • Protractor
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Ruler

Fair test:

  • Make sure that the glass block is aligned the right way and that it is kept constant so that you get the accurate angles of refraction.
  • Make sure that angle of incidence is measured rightly and that the incident ray is drawn in the right manner.
  • Make sure that the laser shone correctly over the line drawn for the incident ray, so that you get an accurate refracted ray.
  • Make sure that the refracted ray is drawn accurately so that you get an accurate refracted ray. Make sure that the glass block is not displaced so that errors are reduced.

Safe test:

  • You should make sure that the laser shone in the right manner over the incident ray drawn.
  • Make sure that the reflected ray of the laser is extended so that when measuring the angles there will be lesser anomalies.
...read more.


The refractive index of glass before was said to be 1.5 on an average. Taking that into consideration, we can see that the refractive index of glass is proven to be right as they are all almost 1.5. But only 40° and 60° of angle of incidence have exceeded 1.5 whereas the other degrees are lesser than 1.5 but above 1.4. The average of the refractive indices is 1.49, which tells us that on an average the refractive index of glass was proven right.


Therefore by looking at the table we can conclude and say that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of emergence. By looking at the drawings we can say that the incident ray is parallel to the emergent ray. Moreover the refractive index of glass is proven to be 1.5 on an average. Finally we can say that the rays lie on the same plane.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Waves section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a well structured and well written report.
1. The sources of information need to be referenced.
2. The conclusion needs to explain the pattern.
3. The report needs to have an evaluation.

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 13/08/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Waves essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Investigation:To find the refractive index of cooking oil.

    4 star(s)

    Using the same container would ensure that the light travelled at the same speed through the plastic tray. This should prevent any possible inaccuracies. * The volume of the liquids being used in this experiment must be kept the same.

  2. refractive index prac report

    Also introducing more accurate results by recording the results ten times, instead of just one (extending the practical time), work out average and try the experiment with other Perspex blocks to determine the true refractive index of the Perspex block.

  1. Find a relationship between the angles of incidence and the angles of refraction by ...

    Shine a single ray from the ray box along the 10 degrees line and mark the position of the refracted ray with a dot and the corresponding alphabetical letter. 4) Do likewise for the rest of the lines with the assigned degree value.

  2. Investigating light and refraction using a glass block.

    the same current and voltage passing through it, the slit the same size and the same distance from the bulb. The same ray box and the same protractor to measure the results. A Sharp pencil and the use of a ruler to draw the rays of light will help keep the result accurate.

  1. The aim of my experiment is to see what factors affect electromagnetism the most ...

    Therefore the efficiency of the electromagnet will be measured in grams (the mass of all the paperclips the electromagnet can handle). To get recordings of how the number of coils affects an electromagnet and how the current affects an electromagnet I will have to do two separate tests comparing the

  2. Investigation Into How the Depth of Water Affects the Speed of a Wave.

    taken That is how I am going to be able to calculate the speed of the wave. Variables There are many other things that can make the speed of the wave differ. I will explain them all. First there is the depth of the water; this will change the speed

  1. The purpose of this experiment is to understand the law of reflection using the ...

    Install carefully the ray table and base and the optic bench on it. Plug in the light source and place it on the ray table. Use a slit plate to make a thin beam of light. Take a slit mask to reduce all the different beams of light into one

  2. The waves of Feminism.

    status category with political implications'.3 The slogan 'the personal is political' clearly explains that second wave feminism did not only fought for the extension of the range of social opportunities open to women.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work