Plane Mirror: Definition & Uses

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  • 0:01 Intro & Definition of…
  • 1:05 Use of Plane Mirrors
  • 2:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Imagine a world without mirrors. The way we conduct our lives would be very different. Would we have different views on the way we look? How would we know what was behind us while driving? In this lesson, we'll talk about plane mirrors and their uses.

Introduction and Definition of Plane Mirror

Studies suggest that people who are very concerned with their appearance look at their reflection in a mirror 20 or more times a day. There's certainly nothing wrong with this; some people just want to look nice. It's interesting to think, though, about how different our lives would be without mirrors.

Even from a strictly scientific standpoint, mirrors are found in countless high-tech devices. From microscopes to telescopes, cameras to projectors, mirrors play an important role in how humans interact with the world around them. This important role would not be possible if weren't for the simplest type of mirror: the plane mirror.

A plane mirror is any mirror with a flat reflective surface. Plane mirrors reflect light at the same angle it hits the mirror, so there is very little distortion of the image, if any. The type of mirror that's hanging in your bathroom is a plane mirror.

The image that you see in a plane mirror is obviously not a real, physical object. Scientists call this a virtual image. The virtual image will change based on the distance and angle the object or observer is from the mirror.

Uses of Plane Mirrors

The most obvious use of a plane mirror is to see your reflection. Our society is, in many ways, a very superficial one. People are very concerned with how they look, and the simplest way to ensure you look good is by using a plane mirror. Plane mirrors are also sometimes used as decoration in a room. They often have the effect of making a space look larger because of the reflected image of the room.

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