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Homework Help: Why can't i see people on the other side of tinted windows?

  1. Oct 18, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    when i stand in front of a tinted window, i can't see the people behind it but i know that they can see me through the window.why is this so?

    3. The attempt at a solution

    tinted window is a kind of one way mirror?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 18, 2011 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Go round at night and have a look.

    Meaning when there is more lighting on their side of the window than on your side
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  4. Oct 18, 2011 #3
    You could have told him snell's law at least :P and it has to do with the different indices's of refraction
  5. Oct 19, 2011 #4
    aheh. i'm a she.^^

    um i havent been taught snell's law yet..... can someone explain to me what it is about?
  6. Oct 19, 2011 #5
    Look it up.

    Not really into optics, but generally speaking we see things because light reflects off the objects and it enters our eyes which helps us form a picture of the object. Hence why we can't see anything in total darkness because there's no light being reflected.

    In a normal window, when the light hits the glass, some light rays are reflected back, and some go through it and reflect off the objects. This is why we can usually make out that there is a window (the glass) and we can also see what's inside. In a tinted window, I'm guessing most or all of the light is reflected back by the coating, no light rays pass inside. So we cannot see what's behind it.

    Don't quote me on this though =P, definitely look it up.

    P.S Ever seen people walk straight in to glass doors? When they are really clean it can sometimes be quite difficult for the eye to see there is indeed a glass door because a lot of the light refracts straight through, and not enough reflects back for the eye to pick up and make a distinction that there is a glass door.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011
  7. Oct 19, 2011 #6
    i agree, it happened to me before.
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