# 1 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Reflection, Refraction and Diffraction.

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1 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Reflection, Refraction and Diffraction

2 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 What happens when waves hit a surface? How the waves behave depends on their energy and the type of material they interact with. For example, light waves are reflected by skin, but X-rays transmitted through skin. If electromagnetic waves are absorbed, some of their energy is transferred to the material. This usually increases the temperature of the material. When electromagnetic (EM) waves hit a surface, they can be reflected, absorbed or transmitted.

3 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Investigating reflection

4 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Spear fishing has been used for centuries and is still practiced by subsistence communities. What is refraction? As the light crosses the boundary between fluid and glass, it is bent, producing a distorted image. The straw appears to be bent in the liquid. What is causing this effect? This known as refraction. To accurately spear the fish, fishermen learn to aim a short distance behind the fish’s image, in order to compensate for the effect of refraction.

5 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Refraction in a glass block

6 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Understanding why light refracts

7 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 What is diffraction? Diffraction is a property of all waves, which can be shown by water waves in a ripple tank. So, when radio waves travel past an obstacle or through a narrow gap, they bend or spread out due to diffraction. Here, the waves travel along until they reach a gap. The width of the gap is similar to the wavelength of the waves. The waves pass through the gap and spread out. This is diffraction.

8 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 How does wavelength affect diffraction? The amount of diffraction depends on how the wavelength compares with the size of the gap. What happens if the wavelength is much smaller than the width of the gap? In this case, only the edges of the wave front are diffracted. Maximum diffraction occurs when the wavelength is similar to the gap size.

9 of 9© Boardworks Ltd 2013 Why can I receive radio but not TV?

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