6A44.10 - Blackboard Optics - Total Internal Reflection

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Blackboard Optics - Total Internal Reflection
Critical Angle and Total Internal Reflection
Area of Study:
Blackboard Optics kit 12 VDC power supply, Dry Erase Blackboard on wheels.

Video Credit: Jonathan M. Sullivan-Wood

The blackboard optics unit is pretty self explanatory, however there is a pamphlet on its use with the unit and in the file. Do Not run the power supply for the light bulb over 12 volts.

  • Jiwon Lee, "Revisiting A Surprising Demonstration of Total Internal Reflection", TPT, Vol. 54, #7, Oct. 2016, p. 410.
  • Carlos E. Aguiar, Antonio C. F. Santos, Eric B. Lopes, and Walter S. Santos, "The Goldfish Over the Rainbow", TPT, Vol. 51, #9, Dec. 2013, p. 522.
  • ZHU Yuhua, SHI Fengliang, "Why Does the Goldfish Disappear in the Fishbowl?", TPT, Vol. 47, # 7, Oct. 2009, p. 424.
  • Mario Branca and Isabella Soletta, "Construction of Optical Elements with Gelatin", TPT, Vol. 41, # 4, Apr. 2003, p. 249.
  • B.F. Melton, "A Surprising Demonstration of Total Internal Reflection", TPT, Vol. 29, #8, Nov. 1991, p. 539.
  • Arthur Guertin and Douglas Giancoli, "What Causes Total Internal Reflection?", TPT, Vol. 21, #8, Nov. 1983, p. 539.
  • Mark Davids, et al., "Finding the Critical Angle", Teaching about Lightwave Communications, 1994, p. 3 - 18.
  • Jearl Walker, "6.138, Disappearing Coin", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 300.
  • Jearl Walker, "6.94, Diamonds", The Flying Circus of Physics Ed. 2, p. 279.

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.