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Shiny surfaces with specular reflections need a slightly different treatment to understand their behavior.
It is a statement like this that renders much disagreement ... maybe even if only pedantic to some, but it is suggestive that the laws of physics of the nature of light do not hold true for all circumstance. It is by definition of a law of physics, that it necessarily does hold true in all circumstance.
The exact same laws of physics determine how light reflects off of a shiny surface, as it does for a diffuse one. This is AI=AR.
Let me offer this ...
ISL is a trigonometric function
AI=AR is a trigonometric function
Light moves with a speed and direction, it is a vector force
Vector forces are a trigonometric function
Light moves iaw trigonometric functions
Light moves iaw trigonometric (vector force) functions. ISL is a specific explanation of a specific omnidirectional non-reflected scenario (iaw trig) AI=AR is how reflected light changes direction when acted upon by an outside force (iaw trig), i.e. the object it is reflecting off of. Reflected photons continue to follow the straight line path of their AI=AR iaw with Newton's First Law of Motion.
You seem to be intent on wanting to take it from diffuse and work backwards, making allowances to explain for special cases. I seem to be intent on taking it from singular photon, the nature of light, and work it forward holding fast to the tenets of the law @ AI=AR for all things.
As I mentioned to Helen & you earlier, I think that we'd eventually find the "missing link" that is garnering the distinction from which we are misunderstanding each other. I will hold fast to AI=AR, (opaque, translucent, transparent, index of refraction, etc.) for reflection/refraction (i.e. outside force acting upon), Conservation of Energy and Newton's First Law of Motion in regard to reflected light.
As to your question @ using reflectors, also consider the parabolic reflector/umbrella, or the beauty dish. These are all simply variations of intentionally designed applications of AI=AR. Whether, you are diffusing or concentrating or collimating light ... it is always a product of AI=AR. There are no "slightly different treatments" required, only a full cognizance of all the factors involved for a given scenario.
Again, consider the parabolic reflector ... which depending on the distances involved (before or after "crossover"), may either have the "effect" of concentrating or diffusing, but it still is a byproduct of AI=AR.
I offered impasse earlier ... I'll offer again.
Edited on Dec 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM · View previous versions