ASVAB General Science Optics Practice Test 822314

Questions 5
Focus Optics
Topics Curved Lenses, Light Waves, Refraction, Refractive Index
Question Type Questions

Study Guide

Curved Lenses

Unlike curved mirrors that operate on the principle of reflection, lenses utilize refraction. A convex lens is thicker in the middle than on the edges and converges light while a concave lens is thicker on the edges than in the middle and diffuses light. A common use for curved lenses is in eye glasses where a convex lens is used to correct farsightedness and a concave lens is used to correct nearsightedness.

Light Waves

Unlike mechanical sound waves that require a physical medium for propagation, light waves are electromagnetic and can travel through empty space. Light waves are also much faster, travelling at 186,000 m/s vs. 343 m/s for sound waves.


Because different materials have different refractive indices, light changes speed when passing from one material to another. This causes the light to bend (refraction) at an angle that depends on the change in refractive index between the materials. The greater the difference, the higher the angle of refraction.

Refractive Index

The speed of light varies based on the material that the waves are passing through. The refractive index of a material indicates how easily light travels through it compared to how easily light travels through a vacuum. For example, the refractive index of water is 1.33, meaning that light travels 1.33 times faster in a vacuum than it does in water.