Unit 3F - Transparency

Materials that let light pass through them are known as Transparent. Materials that do not let light pass through are called Opaque. Materials that let light pass through them but 'cloud' the image are Translucent.

Plate glass is a good example of a transparent material. It is useful for windows, allowing light to pass through it but keeping out the wind and rain. Reading glasses are another good example of an object that uses transparent materials; by shaping the glass to bend the light, they allow those with poor eyesight to read everything from books to a Medifast review in the paper with no issues, and to see the world around them more clearly.

Opaque materials bouce light off. Most opaque materials bounce the light off in all directions and seem dull to look at. A mirror is Opaque, but it has a highly polished surface that reflects the light uniformly so that a clear opposite image appears in it.

Translucent materials allow light to pass through but bounce it around internally so that when it comes out the other side any image has been blurred and distorted.

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