physics question #5057

Jack Racklyeft, a 16 year old male from North Sydney asks on July 29, 2010,


How does the temperature of a liquid effect its refractive index?

viewed 7921 times

the answer

Barry Shell answered on July 30, 2010, A:
This answer was found at John Hanson's Refractometry Webpages at the University of Puget Sound. The speed of light in a substance is slower than in a vacuum because as the light passes through the substance it is being absorbed and reemitted by the atoms of the substance. Since the density of a liquid usually decreases with temperature, the speed of light in a liquid will normally increase as the temperature increases. Thus, the index of refraction normally decreases as the temperature increases for a liquid. A table showing the small changes in refractive index for a number of different liquids is given by Hanson on his site
Add to or comment on this answer using the form below.
(required if you would like a response)
Note: All submissions are moderated prior to posting.
If you found this answer useful, please consider making a small donation to