Immerse a Light Pipe in Water?

In summary, the conversation discusses the use of a coiled light pipe for total internal reflection, which is the basis of fiber optics. It is mentioned that if the pipe is immersed in a medium with a higher index of refraction, the pipe's ability to trap light would be affected. This is because no critical angle would exist and the pipe would act like a hollow pipe filled with air. The conversation also mentions the similarity of this effect to air trapped underwater.
  • #1
Farina
39
0
I'm preparing a demo for my class...

I have a light pipe (a clear, solid plastic pipe about
a half-inch in diameter). Incoming light is always
limited to incident angles less than the critical
angle -- so there's total internal reflection (the
basis of fiber optics).

The pipe is coiled -- like the heating element on top
of a stove.

If I immerse the light pipe in a mediam with a higher
index of refraction than the pipe itself, would the
pipe's ability to trap the light be affected?
 
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  • #2
Yes. The light will no longer be trapped in the pipe.

In fact, no ciritical angle will exist and the pipe would be unable to
contain light at any angle.
 
Last edited:
  • #3
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the pipe will merely act much like a hollow pipe filled with air, right? It'll look the same as if filled with air, reflect and refract the same (though less so because of the smaller diff in refractive index).

Say if I had some fishtank tubing with an ideally zero thickness wall, and filled it with air, and dunked it, I'd get the same effect.

So, it's not that the critical angle would case to exist, it would just be flipped, with the refactive index lower *inside* the pipe.

Oh yeah ... I know what this looks like! When air is trapped underwater, it looks like a mirror. Your fibre optic cable should look like it's chrome-plated.
 

Related to Immerse a Light Pipe in Water?

1. What is the purpose of immersing a light pipe in water?

The purpose of immersing a light pipe in water is to test its optical properties and see how it behaves in a different medium. This can also help determine the efficiency and performance of the light pipe in various conditions.

2. How does immersing a light pipe in water affect its light transmission?

Immersing a light pipe in water can change its light transmission properties due to the difference in refractive index between air and water. This can result in increased or decreased light transmission depending on the design and materials used in the light pipe.

3. Is immersing a light pipe in water a common practice in the scientific community?

Yes, immersing a light pipe in water is a common practice in the scientific community, especially in optical research and testing. It allows for a better understanding of the behavior of light in different environments and can provide important data for various applications.

4. Can immersing a light pipe in water damage its components?

This depends on the design and materials used in the light pipe. Some light pipes are specifically designed to be waterproof and can withstand immersion in water without any damage. However, for other light pipes, prolonged exposure to water can cause corrosion or degradation of certain components, affecting its performance.

5. Are there any safety precautions to consider when immersing a light pipe in water?

Yes, it is important to follow safety precautions when immersing a light pipe in water. This may include wearing protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, to avoid any accidents or exposure to harmful materials. It is also important to carefully handle the light pipe to prevent any damage or breakage.

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