What is Specular Reflection

Horace He

Last Updated: August 14, 2023

What is Specular Reflection

Specular reflection is the mirror-like reflection of light from a smooth surface. It occurs when incident light is reflected into a single outgoing direction, with the angle of incidence being equal to the angle of reflection. This type of reflection is highly directional and is commonly observed in surfaces such as polished metal, glass, plastic, or transparent liquids.

To understand specular reflection, one needs to understand the properties of the surface and the position of the light source. Specular reflection occurs on surfaces that are smooth and free from imperfections. When light falls on such a surface, it bounces off at the same angle as it arrived, resulting in a clear and focused reflection. Specular reflection is not commonly found in natural environments but is more commonly observed in man-made spaces. However, still waters can exhibit specular reflection, showcasing nature’s ability to produce this type of reflection.