Difference Between Reflection and Refraction

The phenomenon of reflection and reflection from the discussion can be inferred in a way that reflection permits therapy to propagate in the same direction even after striking the surface, While the refraction contradicts this behavior of light and the ray propagate in a different medium.

Definition of reflection:


Refection is defined as the change in direction of light rays due to bouncing back towards the same medium after striking the boundary of different mediums.

Definition of refraction:


Refraction is defined as the bending of light rays because of experiencing the difference in the refractive index of the medium. More simply we can say when light strike the boundary of the medium that has different refractive index then, the ray changes its direction, bends and starts propagating in the medium of different refractive index.


The main key difference between reflection and refraction:


  • Refection generally occurs in shinny surfaces that allow rebounding of light without permitting penetration through it. While refraction occurs in transparent surface that allows bending of the ray to a different medium.
  • Refection states that the incident angle and reflection angle are equal to each other, while the law of refraction states that the ratio of the sine of an incident angle to the sine of the refraction angle is a constant value.
  • Refection generally takes place in mirrors, whereas refraction take place in lenses in general conditions.
  • In the case of reflection, the medium in which light propagates remains the same, whereas, in refraction, the medium of propagating gets changed.
  • When a light ray strikes the boundary of a different medium then in case of reflection the speed of the light ray does not vary. While in the case of refraction, the speed varies with the medium in which the ray undergoes bending.
  • The angle of incidence of the light is equal to the angle of reflection, the angle of incidence is not equal to the angle of reflection.
  • The light entering the medium return back in the same direction for reflection, while in the light entering the medium travel, while the light entering the medium travel from one medium to another.
  • Considering the light wave, they bounce from the place and change direction, while in reflection the light wave pass through the surface while simultaneously change from medium to medium.

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