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Overview         (For age - group : Below 16 )

Light behaves very strangely when it passes through a medium different from air. This school science animation contains all laws, terminology, speed of light, car example, equations, 3d view etc. The science software is very useful for students who want to understand the concept behind refraction.

Product - Animation
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Size (KB) 272 US$    1.75 Rs.138.25
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Subscription Days = 30 Watch a preview (opens in separate window)
Duration (hr:min:sec) 0:16:0
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Refraction of Light :

Category : Science

Type : Animation (advanced)

Length : 16 minutes

The e-learning software contains the following

  • Tracing the path of a light ray through a rectangular glass block
  • Properties of optically denser and rarer medium
  • Common terms animated : Incident ray, normal and refracted ray, angle of incidence and refraction, Index of refraction
  • Analogy to understand the refraction of light
  • First law of refraction (Snell's law)
  • Second law of refraction
  • Cases in refraction
  • Lateral displacement
  • Principle of reversibility of light
  • Total internal reflection and critical angle

Explanatory notes contain :

  • Why the upper surface of water in a beaker and held above eye level appears silvery ?
  • Why an empty test tube held obliquely in water and seen from above seems silvery ?

Snapshots         
refraction of a beam of light through a glass block
incident, refracted ray and normal
Refraction of a beam of light through a glass block
Incident, refracted ray and normal
total internal reflection
Analogy of refraction to a car
Total internal reflection
Analogy of refraction to a car moving from road to gravel
Details of the animation/ movie /software

As light travels through a given medium, it travels in a straight line. However, when light passes from one medium into a second medium, the light path bends; this bending of light rays is known as refraction. The refraction occurs only at the boundary. Refraction can be better understood through the analogy of car moving from concrete road onto a sandy track.

The relation between the angle of incidence and angle of refraction is given by Snell's law:

= sin i / sin r. This ratio gives the refractive index of the second media with respect to the first.


Once the light has crossed the boundary between the two media, it continues to travel in a straight line; only now, the direction of that line is different than it was in the former medium. If when sighting at an object, light from that object changes media on the way to your eye, a visual distortion is likely to occur. This visual distortion was witnessed in The Bent Pencil. The ray traveling back to the medium 1 is laterally displaced. The refracted ray follows the principle of reversibility i.e. it retraces the same path while coming back from the medium 2 to medium 1.

If the rays traveling from a denser medium to a rarer medium are incident at an angle greater than the critical angle for the pair of media, the rays are reflected back into the medium 1 from the boundary rather than being refracted to another medium. This principle is aptly utilized in optical cables.

If you are still unclear about the concepts, please refer the animation

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