Reflection and Refraction Lab

1364 WordsMay 2, 20066 Pages
OBJECTIVE The objective of this experiment is to study refraction and reflection and also to use Snell's law correctly to determine the optical properties and indices of refraction for a prism. DATA All data is included in an excel spreadsheet, attached to this write-up. Some uncertainties that see probable in the case of general human error are the basic visualization of the location of the pin, the measuring of the angles with a protractor, the possibly imprecise way to draw the reflected and incident rays and a general error in calculation. It is also possible that some uncertainties were caused by equipment imperfections, such as the mirrors being warped or the pins being bent. Also, some protractors were more precise and easily…show more content…
Since the square prism is a consistent medium, the indices of refraction for both sides should be equal. The process was repeated four times and the indices of refraction were compared. A total variation of .232 was found for the square prism, when considering all measured and calculated values. This number is larger then desired possibly due to a considerable amount of unknown sourced of error. A triangle prism is then used instead of the square prism and the same procedure is taken. A total variation of .557 was found for the triangle prism, when considering all measured and calculated values. This number is much larger then desired; this number is also possibly due to a considerable amount of unknown sourced of error. Some specific sources of error that seem to be apparent in our data observed and calculated are the imprecision of basic protractors that were used. Although this would not make a massive margin of error, it could change the margin of error by a few tenths, which is approximately what the values seem to be off by overall. Although it was not observed that the mirror that was bent or warped, the original mirror used was cracked and had to be replaced. If one was to overlook even a minuscule fracture in the mirror, it may change the general reflection of the rays and the estimated path of the reflected ray. Some of pins did not appear

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