# Wave refraction gcse

Does the amount a wave refracts depend on the change in speed or the wavelength as I don’t know which one it is

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Original post by M.H4kim
Does the amount a wave refracts depend on the change in speed or the wavelength as I don’t know which one it is

Thanks

Both,really.

Physically, the amount of refraction depends on the change in speed of the wave as it crosses the boundary between the two materials.
The change in speed, in turn, can depend on the wavelength.
In the case of light, for example, the change in speed, and therefore the amount of refraction, when it passes into glass, depends on the wavelength.
Blue light is refracted more than red.
This is because blue light changes speed (slows down) more than red.
(edited 1 year ago)
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Does the wavelength affect amount of refraction for em waves only or for for all types of waves ?
Original post by M.H4kim
Thanks
Does the wavelength affect amount of refraction for em waves only or for for all types of waves ?

It depends a lot on other factors. But it does happen for other waves.
Ripples on the surface of deep water, for example, have a speed which depends on their wavelength.
So refraction will take place for water ripples when they meet a boundary, for example a deeper or shallower area.
And also the amount of refraction will depend on the wavelength of the original ripple.
This is not something that would be studied at A-level.

At GCSE and A level:
...to go back to your original question, it's the effect of the second medium that matters, and how much it slows the wave down.
The change in speed of the wave in the medium causes a change in the wavelength.

The dependence of the speed of a wave on its wavelength (in a so called 'dispersive' medium) is really an undergraduate subject.