Study S1 Science Science - Ray Model of Light - Geniebook

Ray Model Of Light

In this article, the following are the objectives that will be discussed.

  • Understand what light is.
  • Understand what reflection is and how it is affected by different surfaces using the ray model of light.
  • Describe the effects and uses of reflecting surfaces.

 

What is light?

Light is an important source of energy.

credits: Andrey Grinkevich

The Sun is a natural source of light, which can be converted into different forms of energy. 

 

How fast does light travel?

Light travels at the speed of 3 × 108 m/s in a vacuum. 

The speed of light changes as it travels through different media. 

Comparing between solids, liquids and gases, light travels the fastest in gases and the slowest in solids. 

 

How does light travel?

Light travels in a straight line. A light ray is a thin line of light coming from a source, which can be represented as shown below.

A bundle of light rays is called a beam of light, which can be represented as shown below:

 

Reflection

 

What is reflection?

Reflection is the bouncing of light rays off a surface.

 

credits: Elisa Photography

 

Characteristics Of An Image Formed On A Plane Mirror

  1. An image formed is of the same size as the object.
  2. The image formed is upright.
  3. The image formed is laterally inverted.
  4. The image formed is virtual (not real, cannot be projected onto a screen). 
  5. The distance between the object and the image from the mirror is the same. 

 

Law Of Reflection

The diagram below shows the ray model of light to depict how a smooth and flat surface reflects light.

What are the two laws of reflection?

  1. The angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection.
  2. The incident ray, reflected ray and normal all lie on the same plane.                                                                                                                              

 

Drawing Of The Ray Model Diagram

Steps taken to draw the ray model diagram:

  • Measure the distance between the object to the mirror.
  • Since the distance between the object and the image from the mirror is the same, using the same distance, measure the distance of the image to the mirror. *The image should be drawn in dotted lines.
  • Using a ruler, draw a straight line from the image on the mirror to where the eye is. Do note that a dotted line, representing the light ray, should be drawn in the mirror and a normal line drawn as the light ray enters into the eye. 
  • To show that the light ray is reflected off the object, draw a straight line from the object to the light ray coming from the mirror.

 

Types Of Reflection

 

What are the types of reflection?

There are two types of reflection, which is dependent on the texture of the surface.

  • regular reflection
  • irregular reflection                                        

 

Regular Reflection

Regular reflection occurs on a smooth surface (e.g. plane mirror). The image formed is clear and undistorted.                      

When parallel light rays are reflected off the plane mirror, the reflected rays are also parallel to each other.

 

Irregular Reflection

Irregular reflection, also known as diffused reflection, occurs on a rough surface (e.g. a plank of wood). No image will be formed on the surface.

 

Types Of Reflecting Surfaces

 

What are the different types of reflecting surfaces?

There are three types of reflecting surfaces:

  • plane mirrors
  • concave mirrors
  • convex mirrors

 

A) Plane Mirrors

Plane mirrors form images that are upright and undistorted.

credits: Andre Mouton

Another common use of the plane mirror is in the periscope, which is a tube with two plane mirrors that are set up at 45o to the horizontal.

 

B) Concave Mirrors

Concave mirrors, also known as converging mirrors, have a surface that bends inwards. This causes the reflected light rays to focus on a single point. The image that is formed on a concave mirror is virtual and magnified.

 

credits: Bruno Pardini

 

credits: Kenny Eliason

 

Concave mirrors are often used in car headlights and dentist’s mirrors.

 

C) Convex Mirrors 

Convex mirrors, also known as diverging mirrors, have a surface that bends outwards. Convex mirrors cover a wider field of vision. 

The image that is formed on a concave mirror is virtual and magnified.               

credits: Devon Janse van Rensburg

Convex mirrors are often used in the side mirrors in cars and blind corner mirrors along the roads.



Revision Questions

Here are some questions for us to look into on the objectives of this article.

 

Question 1:

Which of the following can light rays be represented?

  1. converging
  2. diverging
  3. parallel
  4. perpendicular

 

  1. I and III only
  2. II and IV only
  3. I, II and III only
  4. all of the above

 

Solution:

(C) I, II and III only

Explanation:

A beam of light can only be represented in three ways, which are:


 

Question 2:

Which of the following reflections is formed on a smooth surface?

  1. irregular
  2. large
  3. regular
  4. small

 

Solution:

(C) regular

Explanation:

There are two types of reflection, which is dependent on the texture of the surface, which are the regular reflection and the irregular reflection. 

Regular reflection occurs on a smooth surface (e.g. plane mirror), where the image formed is clear and undistorted. while irregular reflection, also known as diffused reflection, occurs on a rough surface (e.g. a plank of wood), where no image is formed on the surface.

 

 

Question 3:

Which of the following correctly describes a virtual image?

  1. can be formed on a screen
  2. cannot be formed on a screen
  3. not real
  4. real
  1. I and III
  2. I and IV
  3. II and III
  4. II and IV

 

Solution:

(C) II and III

Explanation:

One of the characteristics of the image formed on a plane mirror is that it is virtual. A virtual image is not real and cannot be projected on a screen.

 

 

Question 4:

A boy stands 55 cm away from the mirror. A box was placed 25 cm behind the boy. What is the distance between the boy and the box in the mirror?

  1. 80 cm
  2. 110 cm
  3. 135 cm
  4. 160 cm

 

Solution:

(C) 135 cm

Explanation:

Distance between boy and image in the mirror

= 55 + 55 + 25

= 135 cm


 

Question 5:

Read the following statement about the law of reflection. Determine if the statement is correct or incorrect. 

“The angle of incidence is always similar to the angle of reflection.”

  1. correct
  2. incorrect

 

Solution:

(B) incorrect 

Explanation:

The angle of incidence is always equal to the angle of reflection.


 

Question 6:

Read the following statement about the law of reflection. Determine if the statement is correct or incorrect. 

“The incident ray and reflected ray lie on the same plane.”

  1. correct
  2. incorrect

 

Solution:

(A) correct

Explanation:

To be specific, the incident ray, reflected ray and normal all lie on the same plane.

 

 

Question 7:

The diagram shows a light ray hitting a hard surface.  

Determine the angle of reflection.                        

  1. 35°
  2. 55°
  3. 110°
  4. 124°

 

Solution:

(A) 35° 

Explanation:

Angle of incidence = 90° - 55°

= 35°

Since the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection, the angle of reflection will also be 35°.

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