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Physics Honors/AP 1 and 2

LAB: Angles of Reflection from Curved Surface

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Physics Lab

Physics Lab: Optics - Reflection

Goal: To observe light reflected from a curved mirror surface



  1. Set up the laser, curved surface, and ground glass as shown.

  2. Put a piece of graph paper behind the ground glass so that you can mark positions on the paper from the curved surface.
  3. Mark the positions of your measurements on the surface with a wax crayon or other removable marker.
  4. Maintaining the same angle, or measuring the angle each time, move the laser around the curve and mark the reflected position of at least 10 observations.
  5. Take a second set of measurements, trying to hit the same points on the surface from a different distance and angle. Record the position of the reflected beam.
  6. Based on your data, predict the reflected position of at least two more observations, then make the observations.

Data Handling

  1. Record the laser position and reflection position, then determine the angle between them, and take half of that for the angle of incidence = angle of reflection.


  1. Describe your experimental setup, and report your data in tabular form; use diagrams if necessary to explain your calculations.
  2. How accurate were your predictions for the location of the two sample test spots.
  3. Explain how you could use ray tracing data from multiple observation points to map the surface of an object.

Post your report to the Lab thread at the Moodle.