Diffuse Reflection, Lab Report Example


This laboratory statement is based on the Reflection of light on a water tank. The paper highlights behavior of light when it strikes the surface of a water tank.  The study is used to determine the pattern of reflection on non metallic objects; it is therefore used to explain the element diffuse reflection.

Techniques and materials

The below listed materials and methods were deemed paramount for the execution of the study.

  • Two different types of water tanks with different surfaces with water
  • One tank should have a regular surface and another one with irregular surface
  • Source of light such as a bulb
  • Two stands for the tanks
  • Two flat glasses


  • Place the two water tanks in separate location
  • Direct the light sources on the surface of the two tanks
  • Place the glasses next to the two water tanks and observe as the light travels from the source to the surfaces of the tanks and to the glass surfaces.


The light struck on the surfaces of the two tanks is reflected at many different angles of different sizes depending on the nature of the surface. Light from the source strikes the water tank and gets reflected the image is visible on the glass surface.  Diffuse reflection is uniform on the surface of the water tank with the regular surface and therefore a regular image is seen on the reflective glass. However the water tank with irregular surface does not produce regular reflection.  The diagrams below show the disparity in reflection between the two tanks (Scott, & Juds, p 29).

 the disparity in reflection between the two tanks (Scott, & Juds, p 29).

The two water tanks were made from plastic but their surfaces were different in nature.  Plastic surfaces are capable of showing both diffuse reflection and specular reflection at the same time.

The light that diffuses from the surface of the two tanks is subject to the angle at which the light strikes the surface. Irregular surfaces reflect less light while regular surfaces reflect more light due bigger angle of refection.  The variations in size of the reflection as shown in the above diagrams depend on the angle of incidence. The major element that underpins diffuse reflection is visibility (Mandelstam, p 210).

Discussions and conclusions

The issue of diffuse reflection also inculcates elements of color, for instance experiments have shown that white color reflect more light than it can absorb. A white object with a regular surface will diffuse lighter and hence more visible than objects of other colors such black and brown whereby the light the wavelength of light reduces as the light strikes the surface of the object.  As noted earlier in this study, diffuse reflection of light is important to ensure that the object is visible; people are able to see objects of non metallic surfaces due to diffuse reflection of light since such objects do not emit light on their own like glasses and other reflective objects in the environment (Mandelstam, p 210).

The element  that was tested by the reflective glass is diffuse interreflection which was aimed at testing the images of two tanks when they are given  the opportunity to reflect light, for instance if the surface is irregular the reflected image is also irregular. The angle of incidence on diffuse reflective surfaces depends on the color and the nature of the surface (Hanrahan, & Krueger, p174).

Works cited

Scott M. Juds . Photoelectric sensors and controls: selection and application. CRC Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-8247-7886-6.2010

P.Hanrahan and W.Krueger . Reflection from layered surfaces due to subsurface scattering, in SIGGRAPH ’93 Proceedings, J. T. Kajiya, Ed., vol. 27, pp. 165–174. 2009.

Mandelstam, L.I. “Light Scattering by Inhomogeneous Media”. Zh. Russ. Fiz-Khim. Ova. 58: 381. 2008

M. Iona “Virtual mirrors”. Physics Teacher 20: 278. Bibcode:1982PhTea..20..278G. doi:10.1119/1.2341067. 2008.