You are on page 1of 4


• Echo: An echo is a reflected sound wave. It can be used to tell how far away an object is , how
fast the object is moving , and even its shape.

• The conditions necessary for hearing the echo : The distance between the sound source and the
reflecting surface must not be less than 17 metres where the time period between hearing the
original sound and its echo should not be less than 0.1 of a second .

• The human ear cannot distinguish between two successive sounds if the period between them is
less than 0.1 second , Wide and big reflecting surface must be presented to hear the echo such
as the walls , the mountains or the water bodies .

• Echoes and applications:

• Echo-sounder: this measures the depth of water under a boat. It sends pulses of sound waves
towards the sea-bed and measures the echo-time. The longer the time deeper the water.

• Electronic tape measure: A surveyor can use this to measure the distance between two walls. It
works like an echo-sounder.

• . Radar: This uses the echo-sounding principle, but with microwaves instead of sound waves. It
detects the positions of aircrafts by measuring the ‘echo times’ of microwaves pulses reflected
from them.

• Speed of sound:

• In the air speed of sound is about 340 m/s.

• Speed of sound depends on temperature of the air. (faster through hot air)

• It does not depends on the pressure of the air.

• It is different through different materials.

• However, the speed of sound varies from substance to substance: sound travels most slowly in
gases; it travels faster in liquids; and faster still in solids. For example (as noted above), sound
travels at 343.2 m/s(340 m/s) in air; it travels at 1,484 m/s in water (4.3 times as fast as in air);
and at 5,120 m/s in iron.

• Loudness: The loudness of a sound increases with the amplitude of the sound wave.

• Pitch: The pitch of a musical note increases with frequency.

• Quality or timbre: The quality or timbre of a musical note is what makes one musical instrument
sound different from another.
• Despite different instruments producing a note of the same loudness and pitch, the shape of the
wave will be different.

Reflection of light:

Law of Reflection:

The angle of incidence (i) is equal to the angle of reflection (r)

Note: Both angles are measured with respect to the ‘normal’. This is a construction line that is
perpendicular to the reflecting surface at the point of incidence.

The image formed by a plane mirror:

The image produced by the plane mirror is:

1. The same size as the object

2. The same distance behind the mirror as the object is in front

3. Upright (the same way up as the object)

4. Back-to-front compared with the object (lateral inversion)

5. Virtual

The following are the differences between a real image and virtual image:

 A real image can be caught on a screen whereas a virtual image cannot be caught on a screen.

 A real image is always inverted whereas a virtual image is always erect( upright).

Light Refraction:

 Refraction occurs when a wave changes speed as it passes from one region to another.

 This speed change usually causes the wave to change direction.

 Water waves slow down as they pass over from a deeper to a shallower region.
 Light slows down as it passes from air into glass, perspex or water.

Refraction of light at a plane surface:

(a) Less to more optical dense transition (e.g. air to glass)

Light bends TOWARDS the normal.

The angle of refraction is LESS than the angle of incidence.

(b) More to less optical dense transition (e.g. water to air)

Light bends AWAY FROM the normal.

The angle of refraction is GREATER than the angle of incidence.

The refraction equation:

When a light ray passes from one medium to another:

n = sin i /sin r


i is the angle of incidence in the first medium

r is the angle of refraction in the second medium

n is a constant number called the refractive index.

• Refractive index of a medium is also defined like this:

R.I= speed of light in vacuum/speed of light in medium

So, in this case of glass: R.I=300000km/s divided by 200000km/s.

so, R.F for glass is 1.5


Dispersion occurs when a prism splits the colours of white light into the spectrum.

This occurs because the refractive index of the glass or perspex of the prism varies with the colours
of the spectrum that make up white light.

Violet has the greatest refractive index and therefore deviates the most.

Red has the lowest and deviates the least.

Total internal reflection:

Total internal reflection occurs when:

1. Light is incident on a boundary between optically more to less dense substance (for example
glass to air).

2. The angle of incidence is greater than the critical angle, c for the interface.

The critical angle is the angle of incidence in the denser medium that results in an angle of refraction
of 90º

n = 1 / sin c


n is the refractive index of the denser medium (glass in the example opposite).

c is the critical angle.