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Refractive Index of mixtures

  1. Apr 13, 2007 #1
    Is there a general formula to calculate the refractive index of a mixture of two liquids of known refractive index, e.g. water and ethanol, or water and glycerol?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2007 #2

    Gib Z

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    No. That is because a mixture is not a constant composition - the composition varies throughout the mixture. The index will be different at all these points.
  4. Apr 14, 2007 #3

    Gib Z

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    O unless you want averages, then i guess so. Its been a while since ive done physics, but I think the refractive index is dependent only on density, and you can calculate the average density.
  5. Apr 14, 2007 #4
    Of course, it is assumed that the liquids are thoroughly mixed and that the mixture is of constant composition.

    As a coarse approximation you can use a linear formula:
    [tex]n={ n_1V_1+n_2V_2\over V_1 + V_2 }[/tex]
    where n hold for the refractive indexes and V for the volumes.
    But this is just an approximation.

    Refractive index is not related to density.
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