What is the difference between reflection and refraction?
There are a lot of similarities between reflection and refraction. These are some of the reasons why many students tend to be confused a lot during their revision.
These lessons present the excerpt difference between reflection and refraction with comparison for easier understanding.
What is Reflection?
Reflection refers to the phenomenon where the light rays get a bounce back when it strikes the plane medium. The phenomenon is quite common from mirrors.
The reflection of light can either be regular or irregular. Regular reflection is also known as specular reflection whereas irregular reflection is called diffused reflection.
Main laws of reflection include:
- The angle of incidence is identical to the angle of reflection.
- The ray of incidence, a ray of reflection, and the normal drawn at the point of incidence, to the mirror, occurs at the same plane.
What Is Refraction?
Refraction refers to the phenomenon where light rays shift the position and appear to be bending after passing through the medium.
The refractive index is the ratio of the angle of incidence to the angle of refraction. It helps to determine the speed of light through a medium.
Comparison Chart: Reflection Vs Refraction
|Medium||Light returns to the same medium.||Light travels from one medium to another.|
|Waves||Bounce off the plane and changes direction.||Pass through the surface that changes their speed and direction.|
|Angle of incidence||Equal to the angle of reflection.||Not equal to the angle of refraction.|
|Meaning||The reflection of light when it strikes the medium on a plane.||The process of the shift of light when it passes through a medium leading to the bending of light.|
Core Differences between Real Image and Virtual Image
- There are two types of reflection as specular and diffused while refraction has one type only.
- The angle of incidence of refection is equal to the angle of reflection whereas that of refraction is not equal
- Reflection occurs when the light strikes the medium on the plane and bounces off whereas refraction results in a shift in light direction after passing through the medium and appear bending.
- The waves of reflection bounce off the plane and change direction whereas those of refraction pass through the medium and change the speed.
- The medium of reflection makes the light return to the same medium whereas that of refraction light travel to another medium
- The reflection occurs commonly in mirrors whereas refraction occur in lenses.
The core difference between reflection and refraction is that reflection results in light bouncing back when it strikes smooth medium whereas refraction is where light travels from one medium to another.