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Uses of Concave Mirror

A mirror is any surface that obeys the laws of reflection and gives an image of any object in front of it. The laws of reflection state that the angle of reflection will be equal to the angle of incidence and the incident ray, the normal and the reflected ray would lie in the same plane.

To further simplify it, assume a ball hitting a wall (or any surface) and returning in a certain trajectory. A mirror is similar to that surface where the light packets hit and return at the same angle. This reflection takes into consideration the above-mentioned laws of reflection.

Types of Mirrors

There are three types of mirrors that have different properties depending upon their shape. They include:

  • Plane Mirror: These are the most commonly used mirrors. They keep the image of the object in similar proportions, but they lead to lateral inversion. In the case of a lateral inversion, the object's left becomes the right side of the image.
  • Convex Mirror: The shape of a convex mirror bent outwards. This shape is vital in forming a virtual and diminished image.
  • Concave Mirror: Concave mirrors are bent inwards, and the images rendered by them depend upon the object's position.

Concave Mirrors: A Brief Introduction

The shape of a concave mirror involves a bulge inward which helps the mirror to converge the incident light. As a result, the mirror can focus the incident rays of light on a single point (known as the focal point). The mirror is also known as a converging mirror or focusing mirror. These mirrors can also provide a consolidated parallel beam of light by reflecting all the rays of light emerging from its focal point.

Applications of Concave Mirrors

We use concave mirrors for various purposes, and the prominent among them include the following:

  • Make-up Mirrors: Mirrors with a slight inward bulge help form a slightly enlarged image of the face, helping to figure out the issues with make-up or missed portions.
  • Dental Mirrors: Dentists use concave mirrors to see the cavity hidden beyond the human sight in the jaw. These mirrors also help enlarge the damaged or infected area to analyse the extent of the damage.
  • Solar Furnace: These mirrors help bring solar energy and concentrate it on a single point. This phenomenon helps in the generation of electricity at a large scale. It is also used in cooking, melting of metals and other applications.
  • Headlights: Concave Mirrors are used in the car's headlights to provide a focused beam of light, aiding in better illumination of the path.
  • Telescope: Light coming from the far off planets is similar to the light from infinity. The concave mirror focuses the image on a plane mirror, and the image formed in the plane mirror is visible through the eyepiece.
  • Medical Optical Instruments: An ophthalmologist focuses light in the patient's eye using a concave mirror. The retina gets illuminated, which can be seen from behind the concave mirror using a small hole in it.
  • Microscope: Concave mirrors converge light on the specimen to make the surroundings darker and illuminate the specimen better to accentuate the results.
  • Aircraft Landing Aid: The aircraft landing aid uses concave mirrors, and it plays an important role in helping the pilot land the aircraft correctly.
  • Shaving Mirrors: This is similar to the use of concave mirrors in make-up mirrors. Shaving mirrors render an enlarged image, which helps the user effectively see any missed spots while shaving.

Properties of a Concave Mirror

The properties of a concave mirror that make the mirror important in the variety of applications given above are:

  • The concave mirror can produce both real and virtual images.
  • The virtual image produced is upright and magnified.
  • The size of the image depends upon the distance between the object and the mirror.

Frequently Asked Questions about Concave Mirrors

Ques: What are the everyday uses of concave mirrors?
The everyday uses of concave mirrors include its use as shaving mirrors, make-up mirrors and headlights. Similar to headlights, the concave mirrors are also useful in everyday devices, torches and searchlights. The satellite dish doesn't use a concave mirror. However, it uses a concave surface to focus the signal beam on the receiver.

Ques: What are the scientific uses of concave mirrors?
Scientifically concave mirrors find their use in laboratories for various experiments. Their confirmed and dedicated use as a scientific entity is evident in microscopes and telescopes.

Ques: What are the medical applications of concave mirrors?
There are many medical applications of concave mirrors. They include:
1. Dentists use concave mirrors to search for cavities.
2. Ophthalmologists use concave mirrors in their devices to look inside the patient's eye.
3. ENT specialists use concave mirrors as head mirrors to examine the insides of a patient's nose, ear, and throat.

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