(a) Headlights of a car use concave mirrors. The concave shape helps in converging light rays from a light source at the focus, projecting a strong beam of light forward.
(b) Side/rear-view mirrors of vehicles use convex mirrors. These mirrors provide a wider field of view and diminish the size of the images, making it easier to view a larger area.
(c) Solar furnaces use parabolic mirrors. These mirrors focus sunlight to a single point, generating high temperatures needed for the furnace.
Let’s discuss in detail
Headlights of a Car
Use of Concave Mirrors: In car headlights, concave mirrors are used. These mirrors have a reflective surface that curves inward, resembling a portion of the interior of a sphere. The reason for using concave mirrors lies in their ability to converge light rays. When a light source is placed at the focal point of a concave mirror, it reflects light rays in a parallel beam, enhancing the intensity and directionality of the headlight’s beam.
Side/Rear-View Mirror of a Vehicle
Convex Mirrors for Wider View: The side and rear-view mirrors of vehicles typically utilize convex mirrors. These mirrors curve outward, opposite to the concave mirrors. The advantage of using convex mirrors in this application is their ability to provide a wider field of view. Although they reduce the size of the image, they enable drivers to see a larger area, which is crucial for safety and effective navigation on the road.
Parabolic Mirrors for Concentrating Light: Solar furnaces use parabolic mirrors. These mirrors have a specific shape that is not simply spherical but parabolic. They are designed to focus incoming parallel rays of sunlight to a single focal point. This concentration of light at the focal point generates extremely high temperatures, making parabolic mirrors ideal for solar furnaces where intense heat is required for various industrial processes.
Concave Mirrors in Headlights
Enhancing Light Direction and Intensity: The choice of concave mirrors in car headlights is due to their unique property of converging light rays. By placing the light source at their focal point, concave mirrors direct light in a specific direction, which is essential for effective illumination of the road ahead.
Convex Mirrors in Vehicle Mirrors
Safety through Broadened Perspective: The use of convex mirrors as side and rear-view mirrors in vehicles is primarily for safety reasons. Their ability to provide a panoramic view of the surroundings helps drivers to be aware of other vehicles and obstacles, reducing blind spots and increasing road safety.
Parabolic Mirrors in Solar Furnaces
Efficient Energy Concentration: In solar furnaces, the use of parabolic mirrors is key to achieving the high temperatures necessary for industrial applications. These mirrors efficiently concentrate solar energy into a small area, maximizing the heat and energy required for high-temperature processes.