Prism Simulation

Grades 6th - 8th by Ankush Naskar
Instructions : Drag the torch to different locations and see how the prism changes the path of the light ray.

What is a Prism?

A glass or other transparent object that is triangular with three refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other. It separates white light into a spectrum of colors.

What is Refraction?

Refraction is the bending of light as it passes from one transparent medium to another. Due to the difference in density of the two mediums, the speed of light changes as it enters the second medium and it changes direction.

What is Refractive Index?

The refractive index is a property of a medium through which light can pass. Its value is calculated from the ratio of the speed of light in vacuum to that in the medium. For example, the refractive index of glass is 1.516 and that of water is 1.333. The amount of bending of light during refraction depends on the difference between the refractive indexes of the mediums across which the light is traveling.

Why does White Light Split When It Passes through a Prism?

White light is made up of light rays with different wavelengths which we see as various colors. When light refracts, the amount of bending depends upon the light's wavelength. It is maximum for violet and minimum for red. Hence white light splits into different colored rays, each with different amount of bending, when passing through a prism. The bending effect is amplified in a prism as the surfaces are not parallel.

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