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CLASS XII CBSE, GLOBAL PUBLIC SCHOOL

REFRACTION THROUGH
DIFFERENT MEDIUMS
PERSONAL RESEARCH FOR PHYSICS
ATHUL SURESH NAIR
1/5/2014
INSTRUCTOR: Mrs.Smitha Ajesh

THIS EXPERIMENT IS INTENDED TO OBSERVE THE PATTERNS IN REFRACTION OF LIGH T


THROUGH VARIOUS RANDOM LIQUID MEDIUMS BY UTILISING THE VALUES FOR ANGLE OF
INCIDENCE ( AN INDEPENDENT VARIABLE) AND ANGLE OF DEVIATION ( THE DEPENDENT
VARIABLE)

REFRACTION THROUGH DIIFERENT MEDIUMS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The student researcher would like to thank the following people for their
invaluable assistance without which this project could not have happened:
The students at Eduvanitage, whose excellent videos help children around the
country with science practicals
Mr.Anil Kumar M., Circle Inspector of Excise, for providing vodka to cultivate
scientific study.
Mrs. Smitha Ajesh, physics teacher at Global Public School, for graciously
answering all queries and clearing doubts.

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REFRACTION THROUGH DIIFERENT MEDIUMS

INTRODUCTION
When you place a pencil in a glass of water and view it from
the side, it appears to be broken. This phenomenon is known
as refraction (of light). As light rays travels from one medium
to another ( as in the above example, from air to water), its
straight path of motion breaks up at the conjunction of the
two mediums and a new straight path is formed for the light
rays, in reference to the vertical normal. When the light rays
enter a medium that is less optically dense than the medium it
was in previously, the resultant ray creates a path that is more
deviated from the normal than the original or incident ray (
thus angle of refraction>angle of incidence). When the light
rays enter a medium that is more optically dense than the
medium it was in previously, the resultant ray creates a path
that is less deviated from the normal than the incident ray (
thus angle of refraction<angle of incidence).The refraction is
caused due to a change in the speed of the light rays. The
refractive property of a medium can be measured using the
refractive index.

REFRACTION IN A PRISM
In a triangular glass prism, the deviation of a ray due to
refraction at the first surface is added to the deviation at the
second surface. The angle of deviation in a prism is defined as
the angle between the emergent ray and the direction of the
incident ray. The deviations do not cancel out as in a parallel
sided block where the emergent ray, although displaced is
parallel to the incident ray. NOTE: the prism used in these
experiments is filled with liquids, so light behavior in glass in
inapplicable.

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ABSTRACT
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the dependence of angle of deviation on the
a
angle of incidence using a hollow prism filled one
a
by one with different transparent liquids.
Null Hypothesis: There is a quantifiable relationship between angle of
incidence and angle deviation

METHOD
The student researcher shall attempt to prove the null
hypothesis by obtaining the angle of deviation for each
angle of incidence (15,30,40,45,60) in each liquid
(water, Sunflower Oil, and Vodka). The student
researcher will compare each pair of values by plotting
a graph (x-axisAngle of incidence, y-axisangle of
deviation).
APPARATUS:
Drawing
Paper
Hollow prism
Pushpins
Drawing
board

Protractor
Ruler
Water
Sunflower Oil
Vodka

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PROCEDURE:
1. Take a sheet of drawing paper and fix it onto the
drawing board using pushpins
2. Using a ruler draw a horizontal line of 6-7 cm
3. Draw a dashed vertical line of about 6 cm
perpendicularly bisecting the line from step 2
4. Mark the intersection of the two lines.(normal)
5. Using a ruler and protractor, draw the incident ray
to the intersection such that it is at an angle of 15
to the normal. Label it as such.
6. Take the hollow prism ( filled with water) and place
it so that one side rests on the horizontal line and
the normal perpendicularly bisects this side and
touches the opposite vertex (of the base of the
prism).
7. Trace the shape of the prism.
8. Place a pushpin A at the head of the incident ray
and another one B where the ray touches the prism
wall.
9. Observe the pins from the right side/face of the
prism . Place one pin C at the edge of prism wall and
another one D about 5 cm away so that all 4 pins
appear to be collinear FROM YOUR VANTAGE
POINT.
10. Remove the prism

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REFRACTION THROUGH DIIFERENT MEDIUMS

11. Using a ruler draw a line connecting pins A.B and


extend this line past points C and D. Then, draw a
line from C to D and extend it so it touches line AB.
12. Mark the angle of deviation between AB and CD
and measure it with a protractor. Record.
13. Repeat steps 2-12 for angles of incidence
30,40,45,60
14. Repeat 2-13 two more times, the second time
having the prism filled with Sunflower Oil and the
third time with Vodka.
EXPERIMENTAL SET-UP

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REFRACTION THROUGH DIIFERENT MEDIUMS

RESULTS
OBSERVATION TABLE
TABLE 1: ANGLE OF DEVIATION FOR VARIOUS ANGLES OF INCIDENCE

LIQUID
WATER
SUNFLOWER
OIL
VODKA

GRAPHS
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Angle of Deviation vs Angle of Incidence


(Water)
34
33

Angle of Deviation(y)

32
31
30
29
28

27
26
25
30

40

45

60

Angle of Incidence (x)

NOTES: The graph demonstrates a parabolic curve reminiscent of the


curve on gets when plotting angle of incidence and angle of deviation
relationship for a normal glass prism. This leads us to conclude that the
refractive indexes of water and glass are very similar.

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REFRACTION THROUGH DIIFERENT MEDIUMS

Angle of Deviation vs Angle of Incidence


(Sunflower Oil)
41

40

Angle of Deviation(y)

39

38

37

36

35

34

33
30

40

45

60

Angle of Incidence (x)

NOTES: Sunflower Oil is an substance which is optically dense. Thus,


rather than a curve, we can see a positive trend in this graph, in which
as angle of incidence increases, there is a relative increase in angle of
deviation. There is some minute variation, possible due to sources of
error cited below.

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Angle of Deviation vs Angle of Incidence
(Vodka)
30.5
30
29.5

Angle of Deviation(y)

29
28.5

28
27.5
27
26.5
26
25.5
30

40

45

60

Angle of Incidence (x)

NOTES: Vodka , though seemingly similar to water due to its clarity and
viscosity, is another substance entirely. In fact, it is optically dense, and
thus you can observe a positive trend in this graph that is similar to the
one seen in the previous sunflower oil graph.

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SOURCES OF ERROR
Variation of light- due to the observations being conducted
on different days, varying sunlight could
cause a slight error in angles.
Air bubbles- The sunflower oil contained many air bubbles which
made observations slightly erred. The oil also
clouded the sides, creating a hazy image.
Pushpins- The pushpins had a tendency to slightly tilt at times,
which was corrected by fixing them tightly
into the wooden board. However, it is
possible that due to human error, some tilt
might have persisted.
CONCLUSION
After performing the experiment and consulting the
resulting data, I have come to the conclusion that
angle of deviation is directly proportional to angle of
incidence ( as long as as angle of deviation is less than
90). With the exception of water, all the other liquids
verified this positive trend. When closely observed,
you will notice that the dip in the parabola for the
water graph isnt extremely variant. Since the
equation for refractive index is dependent on these
values and a medium has a single refractive index (
disregarding anisotropy), we can conclude that the
relation between the two angles is determined by a
constant k particular to each substance/liquid. Thus,
the hypothesis is proven true.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY
Duncan, Tom, and Heather Kennett. "Light and Sight." IGCSE Physics. 2nd ed.
London: Hodder Education, 2009. Print.

Joshi, A. W. "Refraction through a Prism." Physics-Textbook for Class XII. 5th ed.
Vol. 2. New Delhi: NCERT, 2011. 330-32. Print.

PRISM ANGLE OF MINIMUM DEVIATION CBSE CLASS XII PHYSICS EXPERIMENT. By


Ajay Rajan. . Youtube.com. Eduvanitage, 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5l0OgKIT7Y>

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