Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why does total internal reflection happen in glass?

  1. Mar 8, 2009 #1
    Why does total internal reflection happen in glass?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2009 #2

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    What determines whether total internal reflection can occur?
  4. Mar 9, 2009 #3
    any microscopic answer?
  5. Mar 9, 2009 #4
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Mar 10, 2009 #5
    If you go back to Maxwell's equations for the propagation of electromagnetic radiation (E cross H) in media and at surfaces, you will find that there are certain cases where light will be entirely internally reflected. Also, you will find from Maxwell's equations that at a specific angle of incidence on water or glass, one polarization is entirely refracted, and the other completely reflected (Brewster's angle). (Why do fishermen wear polarizing sunglasses?)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook