# Why does refraction occur when a wave enters a new medium?

## Why does refraction occur when a wave enters a new medium?

Refraction is the bending of a wave as it enters a new medium at an angle. When a wave enters a medium at an angle, refraction occurs because one side of the wave moves more slowly than the other side. In fact, refraction will only occur when the two sides of a wave travel at different speeds.

### What must happen in a wave for refraction to occur?

The transmission of light across a boundary between two media is accompanied by a change in both the speed and wavelength of the wave. As long as the light wave changes speed and approaches the boundary at an angle, refraction is observed.

#### How does a wave change when it enters a new medium?

When waves travel from one medium to another the frequency never changes. As waves travel into the denser medium, they slow down and wavelength decreases. Part of the wave travels faster for longer causing the wave to turn.

When a wave enters a new medium and bends?

When a wave enters a new medium at an angle, one side of the wave changes speed before the other side. This causes waves to bend. Bending occurs because the different parts of the wave travel at different speeds. Refraction is the bending of wave due to a change in speed.

What are waves that require a medium to travel?

Mechanical waves require a medium in order to transport their energy from one location to another. A sound wave is an example of a mechanical wave.

## Which waves do not need a medium to propagate?

Electromagnetic waves differ from mechanical waves in that they do not require a medium to propagate. This means that electromagnetic waves can travel not only through air and solid materials, but also through the vacuum of space.

### What is water wave refraction?

Refraction of waves involves a change in the direction of waves as they pass from one medium to another. Refraction, or the bending of the path of the waves, is accompanied by a change in speed and wavelength of the waves. Thus, if water waves are passing from deep water into shallow water, they will slow down.

#### How does refraction take place in a wave?

For refraction to occur in a wave, the wave must a. strike an obstacle larger than the wavelength. b. change direction within a medium. c. enter a new medium at an angle.

How are the processes of reflection and diffraction related?

Reflection involves a change in direction of waves when they bounce off a barrier; refraction of waves involves a change in the direction of waves as they pass from one medium to another; and diffraction involves a change in direction of waves as they pass through an opening or around a barrier in their path.

How does the amount of diffraction change with the wavelength?

The amount of diffraction (the sharpness of the bending) increases with increasing wavelength and decreases with decreasing wavelength. In fact, when the wavelength of the waves is smaller than the obstacle, no noticeable diffraction occurs.

## What happens when a wave reaches the end of the medium?

The wave doesn’t just stop when it reaches the end of the medium. Rather, a wave will undergo certain behaviors when it encounters the end of the medium. Specifically, there will be some reflection off the boundary and some transmission into the new medium.