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Why do some objects reflect more light than others?

  1. Aug 15, 2009 #1
    Hey all. First time posting here. Not that i know worth a damn on physics; i'm just interested. Anyways...

    What are the properties of objects that reflect less light (matte) and more light (satin/gloss/etc.)?

    Why does it happen?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2009 #2
    There's a decent explanation here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloss_(material_appearance [Broken])
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Aug 16, 2009 #3
  5. Aug 16, 2009 #4


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    Note that matte and gloss are textures and do not have anything to do with the amount of light reflected; they are just different types of reflections. Matte surfaces produce diffuse reflections while glossy surfaces produce specular ones. A white matte surface still reflects more total light than a black glossy surface.
  6. Aug 16, 2009 #5
    Richard Feynman goes over this pretty well in the beginning of his book QED. It's really interesting, and overall a great book about an intriguing subject.
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