(c22p46) A light ray of wavelength 589 nm is incident at an angle θ on the top surface of a block of polystyrene surrounded by air.

PART 3: Find the maximum value of θ for which the refracted ray will undergo total internal reflection at the left vertical face of the block.

A. 47.84o
B. There is no entering angle that will lead to an angle large enough to internally reflect from the left side in air
C. 42.16o
D. 63.5o
E. 90o

PART 2: Repeat the calculation for the case in which the polystyrene block is immersed in water.

A. 63.5o
B. 41.67o
C. 48.33o
D. There is no entering angle that will lead to an angle large enough to internally reflect from the left side in water.
E. 90o

PART 3: What happens if the block is immersed in carbondisulfide?

a. 90o
b. 41.67o
c. 48.33o
d. 63.5o
e. There is no entering angle that will lead to an angle large enough to internally reflect from the left side in carbondisulfid


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  1. First you have to look up the index of refraction for water, polystyrene and carbon disulfide. Apparently they have not provided you with those numbers.

    You can only get total internal reflection when a light ray tries to enter a medium with a lower index of refraction. That is not what happens in Part 1, so the answer to that one is B.

    For the others, get the refractive index, see if Total Internal Reflection is possible, and apply Snell's law if refraction is possible.

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