What is a Mirror, And What Are Its Real-Life Applications?
When we talk about mirrors, there are various types of mirrors used for multiple purposes. Everyone is familiar with the term mirror that produces the exact reflection of an object. However, not all mirrors show the exact reflection. This is due to the term ‘law of reflection’.
Here, we explore the definition, structure and uses of concave mirror
A concave mirror is also known as a converging mirror with a reflecting surface that is recessed inward. It is formed in a way that it is away from the incident light. This type of mirror is used to reflect light inward to one focal point and focus light.
The Concave mirror is a spherical mirror that produces a small, big, or inverted image placed at a certain distance, away from the object. Its curve is inward towards the centre of the mirror, which makes the object appear as they are floating in the air.
Forming of the real image
Concave mirror is the only type of mirror capable of providing both real and virtual images. The representation of the image depends on two factors:
- the position of the focal length, and
- the placement of the object.
Depending upon the curve of the mirror, the focal length reflects the images. The deeper the sharpness of the curve, the smaller the focal length, and flatter the curves of the mirror, the mirror tends to have a larger focal length. In this, the distance of the mirror does not matter.
This property of the mirror makes it unique and widely accepted in the field of science and technology. However, the scope of this mirror is not only restricted to the science field, but it is also helpful in our daily life. The use of such mirrors makes life easier for humans.
Let us study some of the different common Uses of Concave Mirrors in our daily life and technology field.
- Torches and Vehicle headlights
The concave mirrors are the most crucial thing while making the headlights of the vehicles. The reason behind its usage is when the light from the bulb of the headlight is placed in the front of this mirror, the rays of light coming from the bulb reflects from the concave mirror. This reflection emerges as parallel rays as they cover a larger area along with very high intensity.
The importance of reflection is beneficial in headlights and torches, flashlights, and searchlights. This gives the ability to a mirror to intensify its shine collimating beam to observe the large distant object distinctly.
- Dental Mirrors
Dentists around the world require concave mirrors as an important tool. This type of mirror helps the dentist to examine the deep corners of the mouth or teeth. It provides them with a bigger and clearer reflection of the area.
- Solar Furnaces
One of the most important places where the concave mirrors are used is in the solar furnaces. It helps the mirrors to absorb the rays of sunlight at the focus point of huge concave mirrors. This helps the furnace to produce solar heat, which is concentrated at a specific point due to the inner curvature. This curvature generates massive heat, which can be used to melt metals, heat, cook food, generate electricity, etc.
- Astronomical Telescopes
In observational astronomy, scientists and researchers widely use these concave mirrors to study the farthest objects. It helps the telescope to increase the intensity of light as they are the converging mirrors.
- Shaving mirrors and Makeup mirrors
The formation of the mirror has a reflective and curved surface that helps the object’s reflection to get enlarged. So while using it, the reflection is seen bigger and clearer.
- Medicinal Field
In medical tools like ophthalmoscopes and otoscopes, the mirror is used to see and observe the eyes or ears. However, the mirror is not only used in tools but also in simple head mirrors. It helps the doctors to highlight and focus on the target area by illuminating it.
- Optical Cavity
Laser physics relies heavily on optical cavities, which contain concave mirrors. Standing waves are formed when light rays reflect multiple times inside a cavity.
- Optical Landing System
The concave mirrors are used to help in the process of mirror landing. It helps to guide the aircraft while landing.
- Usage in Physics Experiments
The sphere-shaped lens is very commonly used in physics experiments as well. It collimates the beam in a moving coil galvanometer. The mirrors are also used as reflectors in a variety of fields.
There are a variety of images provided by the concave mirror. Some are
- At the infinity: This happens when an object is placed at an infinity where two rays AB and DE, walk parallel to the principal axis. This axis reflects at points B and E, respectively, which will give the highly diminished focus of real and inverted.
- Centre of curvature: If we place the object AB at the centre of curvature C, the light from AD will be parallel to the axis, and ray AE can pass through the principal cause. This will provide the image at the centre of curvature as small as the object.
However, these mirrors have their own few disadvantages. Some of them are listed below:
- One of the most common disadvantages of the mirror is that it forms real and inverted images. This happens except when the object is kept in between the two points, P and F.
- These types of mirrors have a lesser field view. Hence, it cannot be used in security mirrors or any rearview mirror.
- Such a mirror can magnify or diminish the image according to the position of the object.
- Concave mirrors have a negative focal length.
The concave mirrors collect light from the tiny source and reflect it outwards in a beam and also collect it from a large source and focus on small spots like in concentrated solar power. Due to the nature of the mirror, it helped in a lot of innovations of new devices throughout history. In the form of lenses also, these mirrors have helped many visually impaired people with proper eyesight.
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