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# What is diffraction?

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Diffraction occurs when a wave bends around objects. Diffraction is also said to occur when a wave spreads after it has passed through a type of gap.

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Credit: Bernt Rostad CC-BY-2.0

Huygens' principle states that waves can spread in spheres or circles when in two-dimensional and three-dimensional space. Diffraction is the reason why a microscope is unable to be used to see much smaller details. In general, microscopes are only able to see details that are bigger than the used wavelength. Optical microscopes are unable to be used for any objects that are smaller than a micrometer. Viruses are mostly smaller than a micrometer and are usually undetected by microscopes.

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## Related Questions

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Aerodynamics is a term that describes how force affects objects that move through air. Aerodynamics involves lift, weight, thrust and drag. The shape of an object and its weight affect its lift, and objects have an easier time moving through air than through water because water causes more drag than air.

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Objects comprised of material that is denser than water tend to sink; objects with a lighter density tend to float. Since air is lighter than water, hollow objects can float if their total density is less than water. Preventing objects from absorbing water is important.

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The name of the force exerted by a fluid on objects immersed in it is known as buoyant force. Buoyant force is always directed upwards; it is the force that opposes the weight of the immersed body. This force is equal in magnitude to the weight of the fluid displaced.

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The energy associated with objects in motion is called kinetic energy. Any moving object has the potential to do work on something that it hits. Kinetic energy quantifies the amount of work the object could do as a result of its motion.