Difference Between Transparent, Translucent and Opaque Objects

Transparent Vs Translucent Vs Opaque Objects

Can you see anything in a completely dark room? The answer is ‘no’ as there is no light to see the objects. But as soon as we switch on the light, we are able to see the objects lying in that room; the reason is that light from the source falls on the object and travels to our eye. Light helps us to see objects. The capacity of light transmission varies from one object to another.

Materials such as water, glass, paper, wax, coloured plastics, metal sheet, wood, etc., can be classified under three categories which are transparent, translucent, and opaque. This differentiation is on the basis of light that may travel completely, partially or reflects back through the object. So, this article is to understand the concept of light.

Table of Contents

  1. What are Transparent Objects?
  2. What are Translucent Objects?
  3. What are Opaque Objects?
  4. Difference
  5. Quick Comparison
  6. Wrap Up

What are Transparent Objects?

Such objects that allow the light to completely pass through it and one is able to see clearly through the object is known as transparent object. The capacity of emission of light will provide colour to the material, and the material on the other side is also clearly visible.

Examples

  • Water
  • Clear glass
  • Prism
  • Camera lens
  • Window
  • Sand timer, etc.

What are Translucent Objects?

Such objects that partially allow light to pass through it and objects that are not very clearly visible through it is known as translucent objects. The amount of light got scattered, absorbed or reflected will give colour to the object.

Examples

  • Paper
  • Ground glass
  • Frosted glass
  • Paper cups
  • Jelly
  • Coloured balloons
  • Clouds, etc.

What are Opaque Objects?

Such objects that do not allow light to pass through them and we are not able to see the objects through them are known as opaque objects. The colour of the objects depends on the light it absorbs, and the objects on the other side are not visible through such objects.

Examples

  • Metal sheets
  • Wood
  • Wall
  • Monuments
  • Stone
  • Dice
  • Motorbike, etc.

Difference Between Transparent, Translucent, and Opaque Objects

Light penetration

Transparent objects permit all types of light to pass through them or have complete penetration of light. Whereas translucent objects permit partial light to pass through them or partial penetration of light. On the other hand, opaque objects do not permit any light to pass through them or have zero penetration of light.

Visibility

The visibility of the object is very clear through transparent objects. In the case of translucent objects, the visibility is not clear. While opaque objects have no visibility through such objects.

Shadows

Transparent objects do not block light and so do not shed shadows. Translucent objects partially block light and so shed faint shadows. Conversely, Opaque objects blocks light completely and so shed dark shadows.

Density

Opaque objects have highly denser molecules, followed by translucent and then transparent objects, which are the least denser.

Laws of refraction

Only transparent objects follow the law of refraction, also known as Snell’s law. This law provides the relation between the angle of refraction, angle of incidence, and refractive indices in a given pair of media; it explains the bending of light when it passes from one medium to another.

Examples

Spherical mirrors, lenses, spectacles, glass, water, etc., are some of the transparent materials. While butter paper, frosted tissue glass, etc., are translucent materials. Whereas wood, metal sheets, plastics, etc., are opaque objects.

Quick Comparison: Transparent Vs Translucent Vs Opaque Objects

Transparent ObjectsTranslucent ObjectsOpaque Objects
Such objects that permits light to pass through it. Such objects that partially permits light to pass through it.Such objects that do not permit light to pass through it.
Visibility of the object is very clear through such objects. Visibility of the object is not clear through such objects.There is no visibility of the object through such objects.
Transparent objects do not block light, and so do not shed shadows.Translucent objects partially block light, and so shed faint shadows. Opaque objects blocks light completely, and so shed dark shadows.
Transparent objects are least dense.Translucent objects have less denser molecules.Opaque objects have most denser molecules.
Follows the law of refraction.Do not follow the law of refraction. Opaque objects do not follow the law of refraction.
Spherical mirrors, lenses, spectacles, glass, water, etc.Butter paper, tissue frosted glass, etc.Wood, metal sheets, plastics, etc.

Wrap Up

The difference informs us on how light behaves, absorbs, reflects, or gets scattered when it passes through different objects. It also describes the properties of the objects also.

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