General Physics Lab: Refraction and Snell's Law

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Equipment and setup

  • Equipments used in this experiment are: Laser, 12-V transformer, rotating table, semicircular dish and block, aluminum plate (Figure 1).
  • The dish must be accurately aligned along the 90-270 line with its center at the center of the table (see Figure 2), so does the block (see Figure 3).
  • Adjust the position of the dish/block so there is no bending of the light as it leaves the water/block and reenters the air.
  • The light can be observed by holding a small piece of paper in the beam and looking at it from above (see Figure 4).
  • It is better to perform the experiment in dark room so as to see the laser and its direction clearly (Figure 5).
[Click on images to enlarge.]
1 2
3 4

TA Notes
  • Perform the experiment ahead of time!
  • The laser uses 12 Vdc. Do not plug it into 120 Vac.
  • The laser can cause damage to your eye. Do not look directly at the beam or point it toward another person!
  • When using the block, use aluminum plate if necessary to adjust its height so the laser beam can pass through the block.
  • You may want to tell the students not to spill the water and let laser beam box stay away from water.

Data, Results and Graphs

Enter TA password to view sample data and results of this experiment:

Lab Manual

The Lab Manual for this experiment does not exist on-line.

CUPOL Experiments

Take a look at these CUPOL experiments for an on-line laboratory experience:

If you have a question or comment, send an e-mail to Lab Coordiantor: Jerry Hester

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Last Modified on 01/27/2006 14:25:18