# The aim of this investigation was to find out the refractive index of light by shining light rays through a rectangular prism.

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Introduction

Light Refraction Investigation Introduction The aim of this investigation was to find out the refractive index of light by shining light rays through a rectangular prism. My hypothesis and prediction is that the refractive index obtained from this practical will be approximately 1.5, the textbook index of light through a glass. The refractive index will be given by dividing the sine of the angle of incidence divided by sine of the angle of refraction. In other words: . For this experiment, a sin r x sin i scatter graph will be plotted after gathering the necessary data, with the gradient of its trendline being the refractive index. The independent variables include the angle the light ray hits the medium at, while dependent variables are the angles of refraction. ...read more.

Middle

To control the position of the prism, we drew an outline of it with a pencil so that we could shift it back into its original position in case it moved (1). Then, a normal was drawn through the middle of the outline with a ruler (2). Afterwards, we began to introduce the light ray at an angle, but always touching the point where the normal met the medium (3). Now, we marked where the ray was before and after it went through with a pencil (4). Now the prism was removed so that we could draw the light ray positions with a ruler through the points (5). We now had a zigzagged line. The incident and refracted angles were measured with a protractor and recorded (6). ...read more.

Conclusion

Sources of error may include the protractor we used, as they might not have been precise enough. Also, the way we marked where the rays were at each refraction could have been erroneous, because the 'X' marks may not exactly mark where the centre of the ray was, so when we traced the overall line through them, the line could have shifted one degree less or more. Improvements can be made, such as simply increasing our concentration and precision while measuring the angles and marking the ray locations. Perhaps a more precise protractor could be used, if accessible. This investigation poses more questions, such as finding out the refractive indexes of light rays through a plethora of media, such as water, alcohol and lead. _________________ http://www.rpi.edu/dept/phys/Dept2/APPhys1/optics/optics/node4.html http://goto.glocalnet.net/ibweb/homepagelink.htm ?? ?? ?? ?? Asaki Tay, C10 1 ...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

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