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Experiment : colours of light

Aim:

To investigate the additive properties of colours and determine the complementary colours of light.

Apparatus:

You will need two battery operated torches with flat bulb fronts, a large piece of white paper, and some pieces of cellophane paper of the following colours: red, blue, green, yellow, cyan, magenta. (You should easily be able to get these from a newsagents.)

Make a table in your workbook like the one below:

Colour 1 Colour 2 Final colour prediction Final colour measured
red blue
red green
green blue
magenta green
yellow blue
cyan red

Before you begin your experiment, use what you know about colours of light to write down in the third column "Final colour prediction", what you think the result of adding the two colours of light will be. You will then be able to test your predictions by making the following measurements:

Method:

Proceed according to the table above. Put the correct colour of cellophane paper over each torch bulb. e.g. the first test will be to put red cellophane on one torch and blue cellophane on the other. Switch on the torch with the red cellophane over it and shine it onto the piece of white paper.

What colour is the light?

Turn off that torch and turn on the one with blue cellophane and shine it onto the white paper.

What colour is the light?

Now shine both torches with their cellophane coverings onto the same spot on the white paper. What is the colour of the light produced? Write this down in the fourth column of your table.

Repeat the experiment for the other colours of cellophane so that you can complete your table.

Questions:

  1. How did your predictions match up to your measurements?
  2. Complementary colours of light are defined as the colours of light which, when added to one of the primary colours, produce white light. From your completed table, write down the complementary colours for red, blue and green.

Complementary colours

Complementary colours are two colours of light which add together to give white.

Investigation : complementary colours for red, green and blue

Complementary colours are two colours which add together to give white. Place a tick in the box where the colours in the first column added to the colours in the top row give white.

magenta yellow cyan
(=red+blue) (=red+green) (=blue+green)
red
green
blue

You should have found that the complementary colours for red, green and blue are:

  • Red and Cyan
  • Green and Magenta
  • Blue and Yellow

Perception of colour

The light-sensitive lining on the back inside half of the human eye is called the retina. The retina contains two kinds of light sensitive cells or photoreceptors : the rod cells (sensitive to low light) and the cone cells (sensitive to normal daylight) which enable us to see. The rods are not sensitive to colour but work well in dimly lit conditions. This is why it is possible to see in a dark room, but it is hard to see any colours. Only your rods are sensitive to the low light levels and so you can only see in black, white and grey. The cones enable us to see colours.Normally, there are three kinds of cones, each containing a different pigment. The cones are activated when the pigments absorb light. The three types of cones are sensitive to (i.e. absorb) red, blue and green light respectively. Therefore we can perceive all the different colours in the visible spectrum when the different types of cones are stimulated by different amounts since they are just combinations of the three primary colours of light.

The rods and cones have different response times to light. The cones react quickly when bright light falls on them. The rods take a longer time to react. This is why it takes a while (about 10 minutes) for your eyes to adjust when you enter a dark room after being outside on a sunny day.

Interesting fact

Color blindness in humans is the inability to perceive differences between some or all colors that other people can see. Most often it is a genetic problem, but may also occur because of eye, nerve, or brain damage, or due to exposure to certain chemicals. The most common forms of human color blindness result from problems with either the middle or long wavelength sensitive cone systems, and involve difficulties in discriminating reds, yellows, and greens from one another. This is called "red-green color blindness". Other forms of color blindness are much rarer. They include problems in discriminating blues from yellows, and the rarest forms of all, complete color blindness or monochromasy, where one cannot distinguish any color from grey, as in a black-and-white movie or photograph.

run demo

When blue and green light fall on an eye, is cyan light being created? Discuss.

  1. Cyan light is not created when blue and green light fall on the eye. The blue and green receptors are stimulated to make the brain believe that cyan light is being created.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Colours on a television screen

If you look very closely at a colour cathode-ray television screen or cathode-ray computer screen, you will see that there are very many small red, green and blue dots called phosphors on it. These dots are caused to fluoresce (glow brightly) when a beam of electrons from the cathode-ray tube behind the screen hits them. Since different combinations of the three primary colours of light can produce any other colour, only red, green and blue dots are needed to make pictures containing all the colours of the visible spectrum.

Colours of light

  1. List the three primary colours of light.
  2. What is the term for the phenomenon whereby white light is split up into its different colours by a prism?
  3. What is meant by the term “complementary colour” of light?
  4. When white light strikes a prism which colour of light is refracted the most and which is refracted the least? Explain your answer in terms of the speed of light in a medium.

Questions & Answers

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Given Reply
The product of the object's mass and it's velocity
Mvula
electric field def
FREENCO
how is ester formed
Aubrey Reply
how is n ester formed
Aubrey
Alcohol reacts with a carboxylic acid
Texas
and the reaction is catalysed by sulphuric acid
Vhulenda
an athlete with a mass of 70kg runs at a velocity of 45km . determine the athlete's momentum
Lesedi Reply
Is that a velocity or something else
msawenkosi
45km/h i guess
Texas
Change to m/s
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45km/h = 12.5 m/s p=mv =70×12.5 =875 kg.m/s
Thato
what are the measures of the rates of reaction
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Volume Concentration Temperature Pressure Surface Area
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the principle of superposition of waves
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is this a group chat
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mthebzification
If a resultant force act on an object...the object will accelerate in the direction of a resultant force,the acceleration of the object is directly proportional to the net force and inversely proportional to the mass of the object
mosa
how do you calculate tension force
Bulumko
use the formula Fnet=ma if there is tension connecting two objects
Sboniso
to calculate Tension, usually calculate acceleration first Draw separate free body diagrams for each body. Apply Fnet = ma to calculate Tension
Kevin
Hi people
Paul
how does temperature affect the equilibrium position
Blessing Reply
an increased temperature increases the average kinetic energy thus in turn increases the number of effective collisions........
Lwando
so...which reaction is favored between endothermic and exothermic .when temperature is increased..?
Blessing
exothermic reaction because energy is realised to the surroundings as heat and light energy ....graphical so much energy is realised as reactants to form product and because temperature is high rate of reaction is fast which means there is a successful collision
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INTEMENDO - INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE FAVOURS ENDOTHERMIC DETEMEXO - DECREASE IN TEMPERATURE FAVOURS EXOTHERMIC
Thato
an object will continue in a state of rest unless it is acted upon an unbalanced force
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Newton's Law 1
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First Newton's Law
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Newton's first law
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newton first law
Thinavhuyo
Newton's first law
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Siphelo Reply
decreases
Code
care to explain?
Mpati
if pressure is applied to a pistol , the volume will decrease and particles will collide more frequently with the wall of a container .Each time they collide with the wall they exert a force on them .More collision means more force and the pressure will increase , that Boyle's Law
Code
Because the volume has decreased , the particle will collide more frequently with the wall of a container and each time they collide with the wall of a container they exert a force on them.More collision means more force so the pressure will increase , that Boyle's Law
Code
what is the difference between momentum and a change in momentum?
Chavonne Reply
Change in momentum is the impulse of the object
Rachel
Momentum is a vector quantity equal to the product of the mass of the particle and its velocity
Mmola
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Vadin Reply
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Senzo Reply
Free Fall means there is no acting force on that object.
Dingaletu
only gravitational force
Dingaletu
no external force acting on an object
Sphiwe
by only force of gravite
Sello
but gravitational force
Sphiwe
true
Lucky
a motion in which the only force acting is gravitational force
Blessing
and an object experiencing free fall is referred as a projectile
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Do polymers form restrictedly only if compound is saturated, only?
milani Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
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