Dispersion of Light Examples in Daily Life


The process by virtue of which a ray of light gets split into a spectrum of seven colours is known as dispersion. In other words, dispersion can be defined as the natural phenomenon that helps a ray of white light get split into seven colours that are contained by it. The spectrum of seven colours contained by the ray of light obtained as output includes violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. This spectrum of light is generally abbreviated as VIBGYOR. Here, the violet colour possesses the minimum value of wavelength, while the red colour has the highest magnitude wavelength.

Dispersion of Light Examples in Daily Life

1. Formation of a Rainbow

Rainbows are formed when the rays of sunlight pass through the tiny water droplets or vapours present in the environment during or after rain. The water droplets here, tend to work as a prism and are used to split the ray of light into seven distinct colours with the help of the dispersion phenomenon.

Formation of a Rainbow

2. Compact Disks 

Compact disks are readable and writeable data storage devices. If you hold a compact disk in hand with its mirror face facing towards the light source, you can easily observe a multicoloured pattern that gets formed on its surface. The existence or the formation of this coloured pattern on the surface of the disk is a prominent example of the dispersion phenomenon in real life.

Compact Disks

3. Petroleum Spilled on Water

Petroleum and water are immiscible liquids. Petroleum has a low density as compared to water, which is why it tends to rest over the water surface. When a ray of light from the sun or any other source of light falls on the surface of the oil that is spilt on the water surface, a pattern of coloured light due to the dispersion phenomenon gets formed that can be observed easily with naked eyes.

Petroleum Spilled on Water

4. Soap Bubbles

The dispersion phenomenon exhibited by the soap bubbles can be verified easily by observing the colourful spectrum of light that gets formed over its surface when light falls on its surface.

Soap Bubbles

5. Prism 

A prism is a piece of laboratory equipment made up of glass or silicon that is generally used to display the existence of dispersion phenomenon in real life. When a ray of white light is made to strike the surface of a prism, it gets split into a spectrum of light. The output light obtained as a result is slightly bent in nature. The bending of light demonstrates the phenomenon of refraction of light in real life.


6. Plastic Rulers

Plastic rulers are one of the most common examples of objects present in our real life that are capable of exhibiting the dispersion phenomenon. A plastic ruler is generally translucent in nature. When such a ruler is held at a particular angle and is exposed to white light, it tends to produce a spectrum of light as a result. The dispersion phenomenon demonstrated with the help of plastic rulers improves if the ruler is not coloured.

Plastic Rulers

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