Differences between reflection and refraction of light

The importance of light for all living beings is evident, to begin with, without it life would not be possible. From the physical point of view, light is characterized by having a double behavior since it behaves as an electromagnetic wave and as a particle . Likewise, with respect to light, different phenomena usually occur that involve it, such as reflection and refraction. In this article we want to show the differences between these two properties with respect to light .

To understand the differences between reflection and refraction of light, we must know that light is characterized by the fact that it propagates in a straight line, it is reflected when it hits a surface that is refracting, and also that it changes direction when it passes from one medium to another. other.

Reflection of light

It is valid to say that reflection is a change or modification of the direction of a wave, it applies to light. It is when an incident ray collides with a refractory medium and this medium causes it to change direction and direction. The angle of incidence and the angle of reflection is the same.

We can mention two types of reflection, such as specular reflection and diffuse reflection. The first occurs when light is reflected on a refractory medium and is reflected at the same angle at which it strikes, and the second occurs when this medium has a surface that has irregularities, so we will have light reflected in many directions.

light refraction

The refraction of light happens when we have an incident ray that does not change direction but instead changes direction. For this it is necessary that there is a change between two media, such as air and water or air and glass, when the ray of light passes from the air to the water the refracted ray will change direction, as between air and the glass.

This is because, when light changes medium angularly, it is decelerated by the change of medium and causes the ray to change direction.

We can summarize some differences between reflection and refraction of light in the following table:

Reflection of light light refraction
Reflection can be observed when light strikes any refractory surface, it refracts. Refraction can be observed when light changes its propagation medium, it changes its trajectory.
The reflection of light can be observed by using the mirrors. The refraction of light can be observed by using lenses.
In the reflection of light, the angle of incidence is the same as the angle of reflection since the medium does not change. The angle of refraction is usually different from the angle of incidence due to the change in medium.
The speed of light remains constant when it is reflected on the refractory medium. The speed of light suffers a deceleration when changing medium.

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