The Laser Refractor

Objective: To demonstrate the refraction and reflection of waves through different layers, simulating the refraction and reflection techniques used by geophysicists.

Materials needed:


Obtain dry ice from either Safeway ( Gatorade can be bought here if we are out) or the chemistry supply store in the Cristol basement. Align the mirror on the bottom layer directly under the top layer, and pour some water into the bottom layer until the mirror is just covered. Fill the top layer most of the way up with the Gatorade. Plug in the laser and turn it on (this laser could easily blind someone). While wearing the gloves, break off a piece of dry ice and place it in the Styrofoam cup half and fill the rest of the way with warm water. Place the cup in the bottom layer and wait a few seconds for the vapor to fill it. Then the laser can be shown through both layers, in and out. A white piece of paper placed on top of the box will show the reflection points as well. The glass tube can be placed on the mirror to simulate an irregularity or buried object. Make sure to rinse out the layer box after using it.

Illustrated is the layer box with a laser beam refracting through the layers.