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This report seeks to describe the relationship between the incident angle
and refracted angle of a ray of light through two media, and it's link to
refractive index using Snell's law.

When a ray of light travels from one medium to another, it's velocity
changes, relative to the difference in refractive index (a measure of how fast
light moves through a medium) between the two media. This change in
velocity causes the ray's trajectory to be slightly altered, causing the ray to
The magnitude of this curve can be used to determine the relative
refractive indices of the media, by divising the
ratio of sin1 (the angle between the incident ray
(P) and the normal), to sin2 (the angle between
the resultant ray (Q) and the normal) (fig. 1). This
is known as Snell's law (fig. 2).

Figure 2, Snell's Law (

Figure 1 Refraction of a ray

through two media

The materials used in the following experiment were as such:
1 light box
1 glass block, with rounded edges
1 sheet paper
1 black pen
1 blue pen
1 ruler
1 scientific calculator
1 protractor

A block of glass was placed upon a sheet of paper. The relevant sides
(those through which the light would pass) of the block were traced on to the

Then, a beam of light from a lightbox was shined through the glass
block. The approximate middle of the incident ray (P) and the reflected ray
(R) were drawn in.

Next, the glass block was removed from the paper and a ruler was used
to connect the intersections of rays P and R and the glass block, resulting in
the resultant ray, Q.

A protractor was used to draw the Normal ray at a 90 angle to the

boundary of the glass. The protractor was then used to measure 1 and 2.

Finally, a calculator was used to find the sines of the aforementioned

angles. The numbers were then rounded to the nearest thousandth, and
divided, resulting in the refractive index of the substance.


21.5; .367
15; .259

26; .438
18; .309

36.5; .595
23; .391

39; .629
28.5; .477

48; .743
32; .530

The mean of sinY divided by the mean of sinX results in a value of

1.410, the refractive index of the substance, according to the data taken.

The value produced by the experiment was 1.410. The accepted value
for the material, however, cannot be known as the type of glass was
unspecified. The most common glasses are Soda-lime glass, Crown glass,
and Flint glass, with refractive indices of 1.46, 1.52, and 1.62
respectively( Even without knowledge of the accuracy of the
experiment, several factors likely decreased its accuracy.
The lightbox, for instance, produced a relatively broad beam of light,
rather than a single ray as is used mathematically. A laser pointer, or thinner
source of light could have been used instead.
In addition, the rounded edges of the glass block caused the refracted
ray to start ~1 cm from the surface of the glass, further adding to error. Had
the block been perfectly rectangular (or closer to it) the experiment's
accuracy would have improved.
Using a protractor to measure the angles of the light also likely hindered
the accuracy of the experiment. A digital protractor or computerized scanner
would have improved the accuracy of the measurements.

The results of the experiment clearly displayed that, as stated in Snell's
law, as X (The independent variable, incident ray) increased, Y (The
dependent variable, resultant ray) also increased, at a rate demonstrating the
refractive index of the glass.

Part B
a) What are two technological developments that were necessary before
digital storage on media such as Cds was possible?
Before digital storage on media such as Cds was possible, binary code
would've had to have been invented, as well as computers to process it,
otherwise the data would be unreadable.
b) How is sound recorded as a digital code?
An ADC (Analog-digital converter) samples sound thousands of times
per second, where the amplitude of the sound waves is recorded digitally in
c) Describe how digital information is stored on a CD
When digital information is stored on a CD, an infrared laser is used to
make grooves on the surface of the CD. The binary-encoded data is recorded
by the depth of the groove on the CD; a square, slightly deeper pit is
equivalent to 1, with the representation of 0 being slightly less deep.
d) Describe how information read from the surface of a CD would be
converted into a signal that can be used to produce sound from a loudspeaker.
When a CD is read, a laser/light sensor go along the groove of the CD
and read the pits and high spots (physical representations of binary 1s and 0s)
which are then converted back into an analog signal. The signal is then
amplified and sent to the sound system.
e) List the energy changes from singer to burning the master disc for making
The singer's vocal chords vibrate, producing sound waves (kinetic
energy), which the microphone converts into an analog signal (electrical

energy). The analog signal is converted into a digital signal (electrical

energy), which is then burned (light energy, thermal energy) onto a cd.

Create A Graph. 2015. Create A Graph. [ONLINE] Available
at: [Accessed 21 April 2015].
Refractive index - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2015. Refractive index - Wikipedia, the
free encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at:
[Accessed 21 April 2015].

Mark Latysh
Snell's law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2015. Snell's law - Wikipedia, the free
encyclopedia. [ONLINE] Available at:
[Accessed 21 April 2015].