Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Reflectivity of Light


Light is reflected differently from various surfaces and colors. An understanding of these differences is useful in choosing colors and materials for clothing, in choosing colors for cars, and in city planning. Astronomers use reflectivity differences to help determine characteristics of planets. In this experiment, you will be measuring the percent reflectivity (albedo) of various colors. You will measure reflection values from paper of various colors using a computerinterfaced Light Sensor and then compare these values to the reflection value of aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will arbitrarily be assigned a reflectivity of 100 percent. You will then calculate percent reflectivity using the relationship

\% {\text{ Reflectivity}} = \frac{{{\text{value for paper}}}} {{{\text{value for aluminum}}}} \times 100


In this experiment, you will

  • Use a Light Sensor to measure reflected light.
  • Calculate percent reflectivity of various colors.
  • Make conclusions using the results of the experiment.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physical Science with Vernier »

Experiment 23 from Physical Science with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physical Science with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Go to top