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Spherical Mirrors: Concave Mirror and Convex Mirror - Studywindows - A Simple Educational Blog for Children

Spherical Mirrors: Concave Mirror and Convex Mirror

spherical mirrors concave mirror and convex mirror

In this article, we will learn two basic types of spherical mirrors namely concave mirrors and convex mirrors. A mirror is an everyday object used by every person. When we look into the mirror, we see ourselves, and this Light helps us see our Reflection. Mirrors are not only used for personal purposes in the current scenario. There are various mirrors used in vehicles, apartments, torches, and many more places or objects.  There is a different phenomenon when we look into the mirror or when we use the mirror, and that process is known as “Reflection of Light.” In this context, we will understand the Spherical Mirrors and their different types, mainly known as Concave and Convex Mirrors. We will also discuss in the context how this mirror gets worked with the help of Light.

What is a Spherical Mirror? Definition

What is a Spherical Mirror?

Any object with a shiny look and a bent surface is known to be a Spherical Mirror. For example, a spoon is said to be having a bent structure and a curved mirror. Spherical Mirrors are highly used in current times, and their surface is always gets reflected. Not only spoons, but there are also lots of other materials that have been surface in it. Therefore, all the materials that have the piece out in a Sphere form are Spherical Mirrors.

spherical mirrors concave mirror and convex mirror
spherical mirrors concave mirror and convex mirror

History of Spherical Mirror

The uses of Reflections have started long back but not in a type of glass or object. These got invented later, and therefore we need to learn a little concept about the history of Spherical Mirrors. Some of the points related to the history of Spherical mirrors are listed below:

  • People of the back days used to collect water in different vessels and used it to look at themselves. As in those days, the mirror was not common material, and it was hard to look at them, so they used to follow the pattern of collecting water.
  • Justus von Liebig is considered a person who invented the first Spherical mirror back in 1835 in Germany.
  • In the earlier days, when the Spherical mirror was not properly invented, people used the stones as a fully polished mirror. These polished stones were then developed from the states of America, and from then, these polished stones were used as a mirror.
  • The human Civilization era consisted of those mirrors made of Copper as well as Bronze metals. China was the first country that has discovered the use of Bronze mirrors.
  • These kinds of Mirrors were considered an expensive mirror, so all the people could not afford this. Later these were owned by only those who were wealthy.
  • The invention of Mirrors was very hard and struggling in the old days. Later, when this got invented, people started modifying it for different purposes, and in current times the Spherical mirrors are the common ones ad are used widely all over the world. 

Furthermore, we will learn about the widely used spherical mirrors in detail known as Concave and Convex Mirrors.

Types of Mirrors: Concave Mirror and Convex Mirror

Two Types of Mirror is present, and we use. They are majorly known as Plain Mirrors and Spherical Mirror. Plane Mirrors are considered standard mirrors with a flat surface and reflect the same as the object appears to be. However, the Spherical mirror has a curved surface and is therefore defined in two ways known as Concave and Convex Mirror. In this context, we will understand broadly about the Concave and Convex Mirrors.

Concave Mirror: Definition, Features & Uses

What is Concave Mirror?

Mirrors are either flat or bent. Now, if the mirror is bent, it has two areas: inward and outer surfaces. The mirrors that have a bending surface from inward areas are termed to be concave mirrors. If we take the example of a spoon, the spoon is a bending material. When we see the spoon, the two areas are visible to us. The inward side that is bent is reflecting, and the outer side is polished and surfaced. The inward area that has a reflecting surface is known to be a concave mirror.

The above is an easy diagram drawn to understand the concept in an easier way. This diagram signifies the curved inward portion as the convex mirror because it has the Reflecting surface from the inner area. However, the outward portion is a shaded portion.

The concave mirrors reflecting surfaces are always seen to be bent; however, the backward portion of such mirrors are either shaded or polished as we see in spoons. When one side of the material is polished, it helps for Reflection from the other side. The Rays of lights strike the reflecting area and bounces back to give an image. This has also been termed as a converging mirror.

Features of Concave Mirror

There are few features of Concave mirrors, and those are discussed below:

  • These are the bent mirrors mainly in the form of a curve.
  • The object’s position in the front of the mirror decides its size. If the object is nearer, the size will appear bigger; however, if the object is far, its size becomes smaller.
  • The image that gets formed by a concave mirror is either Virtual, or it can be real.
  • The major reasons for using concave mirrors are that it helps the image appear a little clearer and in a wide form. This is why most doctors, scientists, or the common people prefer it to use.

From the above points, the context makes clear the features that a concave mirror consists of. Moving ahead, we will understand the uses and the application of concave mirrors.

Uses of Concave Mirror

There are various uses of a concave mirror, and we need to understand it broadly to learn where it is used. The uses of Concave mirrors are listed below:

  • Day to Day life- Concave mirrors have various uses that we consider in our habit of using in our daily schedule.
  • Science Technologies- There is lots of instruments used by the scientist for their observations. The concave mirrors are the ones that are widely used in their technologies for their day-to-day observations and inventions.
  • Shaving Mirrors and Make-up Mirrors- Shaving Mirrors widely used by men are in the list of concave mirrors. All the ladies commonly use make-up mirrors as fashion is high in the current scenario. It is well considered a concave mirror as it makes the image appear to be closer and wider.  The sizes of the object get bigger when it is kept close and nearer the mirror. When a person looks into the shaving or the make-up mirror, the image gets presented a little closer.
  • Ophthalmoscopes- To check the interior portion of the eyes, the doctor use ophthalmoscopes and consist of a concave mirror. Similarly, Dentists who are the expert in taking care of our teeth and mouth uses the concave mirror. So, it is considered a useful mirror as doctors use the same for treating their patients.
  • Use of Concave Mirrors in Microscopes- We knows well that microscopes are relevantly used to look up smaller objects. Even if we peel off the onion and put it under a microscope, we will see its smaller cells.  Therefore, concave mirrors are the ones used in microscopes to observe smaller objects. The concave mirrors inside the microscope are used as a condenser that helps focus the object and immediately appear object black.
  • Use of Concave mirror in Telescopes- the Light of the concave mirrors is quite clear, so these mirrors are used in Telescopes for discoveries.
  • Concave mirror and Solar Furnaces: People have widely accepted the use of solar heat as they appreciate the less consumption of light energy. The concave mirrors in solar furnaces help in the light absorption of the sun and then can be used for various purposes.
  • Use of Concave mirrors in Headlights, flashlights, etc.: The vehicle‘s headlights are the most required and helpful Light that can be used. With the help of a headlight, people can easily look forward on the roads and can ride their vehicles safely. The concave mirrors are used in all the vehicles headlights as it helps in Reflection of Light in wide areas.

From the above context, we understood and learned clearly about the uses of concave mirrors in various objects and materials. Now, we will furthermore learn about Convex Mirrors and their benefits and applications.

Convex Mirror: Definition, Features & Uses

What is Convex Mirror?

We got a clear concept about the Concave mirror from the above context. In the convex mirror, the outer portion of any sphere or cut object is considered a Reflecting Surface.

With the help of a spoon again, we can understand the concept of Convex Mirror. We know that spoon has a curved shape, and it has both inward and outward surfaces. The inward surfaces are curved and reflecting, so it was known to be concave, but now, if we paint a curved portion from inside that the exterior surface of it will become reflecting. This Reflecting outer surface of the spoon is called a convex mirror.

Now let’s understand this concept through an easy diagram drawn below (will be updated shortly). The above diagram represents that the spoon’s outer part is a convex mirror if the inner portion or curve gets shaded.

Features of Convex Mirror

There are few essential features of Convex Mirror, and those are listed below:

  • This kind of mirror is also considered a diverging mirror as it gets diverged light striking on the reflective part of the mirror.
  • The convex mirror can give the image of an object in a virtual form. Similarly, it can also help in forming erect as well as diminished images. These formations of images depend totally on the distance of an object.
  • These mirrors are mostly placed in large vehicles to look behind as it shows the image in a larger form.
  • The outer portions of the convex mirrors are the Reflecting Surfaces.

The above provided are the features of convex mirrors. Moreover, now we will learn the use of convex mirrors and where it is mostly applied in this context.

Uses and applications of Convex Mirror

There are different uses of convex mirrors, and it is explained below:

  • Use of Convex Mirrors in Buildings- Everyday maximum number of buildings and apartments are getting constructed. These are then getting segregated in hospitals or big office premises. The convex mirrors are used in these large premises to avoid any chaos or mishappenings.
  • Use of Convex Mirrors in Vehicles- Numbers of cars and large vehicles are running on the roads daily. The convex mirrors are fixed in these vehicles and give the rear image. The convex mirrors in these large vehicles help to prevent hitting beam lights from the front. It further helps the driver in looking up the big vehicles coming up from the front.
  • Convex mirror in ATM’s – We will get ATM at every stop, which the people highly use. Items are the security places as people take out their money. However, fraudulent cases can be seen happening in these places. To secure this, a mirror is fixed in the ATMs that help customers see who is standing outside and their activities.  So, these mirrors are used for safeties.
  • Use of Convex mirror in parking areas- The mirrors in vehicles and other big vehicles help them see the way behind. This further enables them to park their vehicles where the space is left safely.

The above-discussed points make clear us about the uses and the mirror applications. Next, we will learn about few differences of both the concave and convex mirrors. The points of difference are listed below.

  • Concave mirrors are considered converging mirrors; however, convex mirrors are known as diverging mirrors.
  • The Reflecting surfaces of concave mirrors are inward, and the convex mirrors are outward.
  • Concave mirrors are mostly used for headlights or shaving mirrors. Convex mirrors are majorly used in large vehicles for the rear image.
  • The focuses of the concave mirrors are real, whereas the focuses of convex mirrors are virtual.


The context overall Concludes about the Spherical Mirrors- Concave and Concave. We get the idea from the context that a mirror having curves are part of Spherical mirrors. However, it has two parts to understand is Concave mirror and convex mirror. The concept gives a clear view of both the mirrors and their uses in different forms. The diagram in the context has helped in better understanding for the easier concept of both the mirrors. Moreover, we have also learned about the differences of both the mirrors from the given context.

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