Q:

What is the difference between reflection and refraction?

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Quick Answer

The difference between reflection and refraction is that in reflection waves bounce off of a surface while in refraction those waves do not bounce back but pass through the surface, which bends them and changes the speed of the waves. The image of a face is reflected back from a pool of water, but the light on the bottom of the pool of water is refracted because it is uneven and hazy due to the way the water bends the light waves.

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What is the difference between reflection and refraction?
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Full Answer

According to How Stuff Works, reflection occurs when waves are bent back after hitting a surface. Reflection is necessary to vision. All objects reflect some wavelengths of light. The precise wavelengths reflected and absorbed determine the colors of objects.

According to Dictionary, refraction waves are also bent, but they travel through the substance as well as being bent back. In this way, a pool of water that reflects light and therefore shows the image of a face also refracts that light, causing it to give the bottom of the pool a speckled look. The reason for refraction is that waves pass at different speeds through different substances. The wavelengths of light that determine color are broken up during refraction, which creates rainbows.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why does refraction happen?

    A:

    Refraction is the bending of a beam of light when it enters a medium of different density. Light travels fastest in vacuum and in air. When light enters a medium of higher density, such as water, its velocity changes and causes it to bend or refract.

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  • Q:

    What is the index of refraction?

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    The index of refraction of any material is the speed of light in a vacuum divided by the speed divided by the speed of light in the medium. It is denoted with the letter "n."

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  • Q:

    What is an example of refraction?

    A:

    The formation of a rainbow and the splitting of light when it passes through a prism are examples of refraction. A pencil placed in a beaker of water looks bent due to refraction of light.

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  • Q:

    What is Snell's law of refraction?

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    Snell's law of refraction is the relationship between the angles of incidence and refraction with respect to the refraction indices of two different media. Snell's law of refraction can be applied to the refraction light for any two media. Snell's law predicts the angle of refraction that light follows when passing from one medium and into the next medium.

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