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Investigating How The Index Of Refraction Is Affected By Different Temperatures Of Water

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Investigating How The Index Of Refraction Is Affected By Different Temperatures Of Water

        The purpose of this lab is figure out how the different substances in which we are experimenting affect the index of refraction. In our experiment, we will make 3 replications of regular tap water at (36 °C), hot water at (63 °C) and cold water at (4.5°C) change in the index of refraction.


        My hypothesis for this lab was, that the boiling water would have the highest index of refraction. Therefore the ice water would have the lowest. My predictions are based on my climate knowledge where I know that warmer an object gets its molecules move faster. And I believe faster moving molecules is more likely to achieve higher index of refraction.


        Independent variable: The independent variables that we will be using in this lab are the different temperatures of water that are being pored into the Plexiglas then be placed in front of the light source.


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 / sin R for the 20°, 30°, and 40° incident angles,  you then must calculate the average of the 3 sin i /Sin R for each of the data tables .

5)When you finish use the recorded results to create a bar graph to record data on the average index of refraction for each of the different tables.


Qualitative Results:

        During the lab, one thing we noticed was that as the ray passed through the Plexiglas filled with water, the ray of was slightly bended and then on the refracted side the ray would be in a different angle each time.

Data Tables:

Table 1 :Incident angle, refracted angle, sin for the incident and refracted ray, and index of refraction for theCold Water( 4.5°C)

Incident angle


Refracted angle


sin (i


Index of Refraction
















Table 2:  

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        Another limitation that we had in our lab was the lights in the room. the light in the room affected our refracted results due to the fact the beam was not clear enough to see in which we couldn't take accurate results.

Improving the Investigation:

        We could improve our investigation by somehow maintaining the temperature that was originally suppose to be of the water and somehow not let the room temperature interfere with the temperature of the cold and hot water temperatures.

        We could also improve the investigation by doing it in a very dark room with no lights on apart from the ray box. this would make it much easier to read the refracted ray and allowing us to make accurate results.

          We can also somehow make to results more accurate if we had a more stronger beam in which the light refracted would be much more visible more accurate.

...read more.

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