Light

Transparent, Translucent and Opaque

Objects vary in how they transmit light. Whatever we see around us looks different and have different properties. Some objects are transparent, translucent and opaque.

Transparent, Translucent and Opaque

                                                                  Transparent, Translucent and Opaque

What are Transparent Objects?

Transparent objects allow light to pass through them. Materials like air, water, and clear glass are transparent. When light run across transparent materials, almost all of it passes directly through them. Glass is transparent to all visible light, water, and even air.  For instance, if you switched on a torch and let the light pass through the glass window, you can still see the light on the other side of the glass surface. This is because the light rays emitting from the torch pass through that transparent object.

What are Translucent Objects?

Translucent objects come in between opaque and transparent materials. Translucent objects allow some light to pass through them but partially. For example, frosted glass and some plastics. When light strikes translucent materials, only some amount of light passes through the material. As if the light does not pass directly through the materials. The light changes direction many times and is scattered as it passes through a translucent object. That’s the reason we cannot see clearly through them. Also, the objects on the other side of a translucent object appear fuzzy and unclear.

For instance, imagine a fogged-up glass window. If someone crosses a foggy window, you may be able to say that it’s a person but you can’t tell who or sometimes even what it is. The details will not be easily discernible. As translucent objects let some light rays pass through them but not all.

What are Opaque Objects?

Opaque objects block light and do not allow it to travel through them. Most of the light that passes through opaque objects is either reflected by the object or absorbed and converted to thermal energy. For example, wood, stone, and metals are opaque to visible light. The book cover, brick, and other such solid things are all opaque in nature. Basically, some materials can be opaque to light, but not to other types of electromagnetic waves.

FAQs on Transparent, Translucent and Opaque

Question 1: What is the difference between transparent and translucent objects?

Answer: Transparent object allows light to pass through it without scattering whereas translucent objects also allow light to pass through it but partially. One can see through transparent objects as it allows clear image formation. It should be noted that one can also see through translucent objects but not clearly. The translucent object does not allow clear image formation because of partial visibility. So, materials appear frosted and stained. Transparent objects do not cast shadows as they do not block light. The translucent objects cast faint shadows as they block light partially. Transparent objects follow the law of refraction whereas translucent objects do not follow the law of refraction.

Examples of transparent objects is a sheet of plane glass, water, air etc. Example of objects that are translucent is a sheet of polythene, a flame of the burner, fog etc.

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