Monday, December 19, 2011

Science for Kids - Refraction of Light – Spoon in glass experiment

Thanks to all kids and their parents who responded heavily to me for my first science article on Ice on a string. Today I am going to take you through another interesting experiment and some cool science concepts. Here we go!!!
Spoon!!! Spoon is made of very hard material - Steel. It is difficult or not possible to break spoon with hands. What if I break spoon first and bring it back to its original straight shape? Believe me it is very easy. The experiment we are going to understand today will teach you how to break spoon and bring it back to its original shape.
Take one glass and fill water to the half of glass. Put one steel spoon in glass and watch. What do you see? Spoon in a glass is broken. Now take out the spoon. What do you see? Spoon is back to its original and it is not broken.
Science Fact –
Let’s understand the facts. If you observe carefully, you will notice that, spoon appears broken only near the surface of the water; however it is seen continuous without any breakage inside the water. So what is reason behind spoon appearing broken near water surface?
The reason is one of the important properties of Light called Refraction.
What is Refraction -?
Refraction is change in the direction of wave due to change in its speed. This phenomenon is always associated with Surface. Refraction is bending of light wave as it passes from one material into other. The light bending is nothing but the change in the direction of light wave.
In our experiment, light beam passes through 3 transparent mediums – Water, Glass and Air. The light beams reflected from the underwater spoon part come out of water with changed direction. Then these light beams enter glass; where direction of light beam is again changed. When light beam enters air; again direction of light beam is changed.
Hence, direction of light beam is changed every time it travels from one transparent medium to another transparent medium. This direction changing property of light is nothing but Refraction of light.
It is refraction due to which we saw spoon broken near water surface.
If you try the same experiment with Oil, kerosene same behavior will be observed. Few examples of refraction that we encounter in day to day life are as follows –
1.     If you put a coin inside glass of water and view it from the top then coin appears to be bigger and nearer than its real depth of glass. This is refraction.
2.     If you are travelling in car. It is raining and window glass has lot of water on it then outside tress will appear to be bent. This is refraction.
Stay tuned for more in coming days…

Happy Refracting!!!

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