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Last updated date: 01st Mar 2024
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Introduction to Prism

A prism's lateral faces are the faces other than the top and bottom. All of the lateral faces are also similar and belong to the parallelogram class. This means that the lateral faces can be parallelograms, rectangles, or even squares because their opposite sides are all parallel to each other. A cuboid is one of the most prevalent types of prisms. It is known as a rectangular prism because it has a rectangular basis.

Glass Prism

Glass Prism

Elements of Prism:

  • A prism's characteristics can be labelled, which helps to characterise it.

  • The edge of a prism is a straight line that links any two adjacent vertices.

  • The corners of a prism where any two edges intersect are known as vertices.

  • A face is a closed, flat surface that is surrounded by vertices and edges. 


Applications of Prism: 

A prism is a transparent, geometric, optical object with at least two polished plane faces that are inclined relative to each other and reflect or refracted light. Transparent materials such as glass, plastic, and fluorite are used to make prisms.

Prisms are used to guide light at a specific angle. They can reverse the direction of light by internal reflection.

So the applications are :

Prisms have a wide range of applications. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit certain purposes. Prisms play an important role in optical applications such as microscopes, lenses, telescopes, and laser diodes. Other examples are :

  • Laser Instruments - Laser prisms are designed to efficiently tune a variety of laser systems, and tuning is performed by tilting the prism in the direction of the beam.

  • Beam Guiding - Light slows and bends as it passes through the prism, but various wavelengths bend at different degrees. This breaks down light into multiple wavelengths, resulting in a rainbow of colours. The wavelengths of visible light that an object reflects or transmits define its colour to the human eye.

  • Forestry – Theis technique by using prism is followed by having a tube, having wedge prism. 

Uses of Prism : 

Uses of these prisms are :

  • Prism lens: Prism lenses can be used to address vision problems such as double vision and other binocular vision issues.

  • Prisms are commonly prescribed by eye doctors to treat a disorder known as Binocular Visual Dysfunction (BVD).

  • Prisms are used by scientists to examine the nature of light and human perception of light.

  • Scientists use prisms to study the connections between the eye and the brain, as well as the general physics of light movement, speed, and characteristics.

  • Telescopes, cameras, microscopes, and even submarine periscopes use prisms as optical equipment. Telescopes manipulate light travelling long distances to meet the eye by using numerous prisms in a single device.

Experiment of Prism: 

Rainbow : 

One science experiment involving prisms is largely based on Isaac Newton's investigations. Set a glass prism in front of a wall or other surface in a darkened room, then beam a spotlight through the prism and onto the surface. Slowly rotate the prism until the angle is correct and the light refracts into a rainbow. The prism bends light and separates it into the visible light spectrum's seven colours.

Beam Light Spotting on a Prism Resulting by 7 Different Colours

Beam Light Spotting on a Prism Resulting by 7 Different Colours


Uses of Prism in Daily Life: 

Ice cubes, barns, and candy bars are examples of prism-shaped things found in everyday life. The prism's regular geometry makes it beneficial for designing buildings and simple products. Prisms can also be seen in nature, such as mineral crystals.

  • Prisms – Geometric Objects : 

Prisms are defined mathematically as solid objects with flat sides, identical ends, and the same cross section throughout their entire length.

  • Rectangular Prisms - In everyday life, some examples include rectangular tissue boxes, juice boxes, laptop computers, school notebooks and binders, standard birthday gifts like shirt boxes and aquariums.

  • Triangular Prisms - , triangular roofs and "Toblerone" wrappers -- chocolate candy bars

  • Hexagonal and Pentagonal Prisms – barns, unsharpened pencils.

Toblerone-Chocolate Wrap Papers

Toblerone-Chocolate Wrap Papers 

Uses of Prism in Optics:

In optics, a prism is a piece of glass or other transparent material cut with precise angles and plane faces that can be used to analyse and reflect light. A simple triangular prism can separate white light into its constituent colours, which is known as a spectrum. This type of prism is used in spectroscopes, which are equipment for examining light.

Optical Prism

Optical Prism

Uses of Prisms in Ophthalmology :

Prisms are used in ophthalmology to measure eye alignment, induce alignment to facilitate various tests, and treat alignment. To address alignment, the alignment must first be measured. This is accomplished by placing prisms in front of one or both eyes until the eyes align. Here the alignment refers to looking in the same direction. 

Solved Examples : 

1. What are the 4 types of prisms?

Dispersion prisms, deviation,  rotation prisms, and displacement prisms.

2. What are the examples of prisms? Clocks

  • Buildings 

  • Chocolate Bar

  • Tents

  • Ice cubes

and many more……

3. Is Diamond considered as a prism?

Diamonds are tiny, intricate prisms; light enters through the top andis  angled around the inside of the diamond before returning to the top and exiting through the surface. This produces a rainbow effect (dispersion) and increases the brilliance.

Conclusion : 

Although prisms can be extremely helpful and sometimes necessary in the treatment of a wide range of eye movement and central nervous system disorders, they also have a few disadvantages, and therefore must be used with care.  prisms may worsen or even create a new condition in some situations. There are a lot more applications used in all aspects which may be viewed or not known. This has brought revolution in light matter, and in sub-categories as well.

FAQs on Prism

1. List a few examples of rectangular prisms.

Right rectangular prisms and cuboids can be found all around us. Books, boxes, houses, bricks, boards, doors, containers, cabinets, mobile phones, and laptop computers are a few examples.

2. List the difference between regular and irregular prisms.

Regular prism is regular on cross-sections, in other words, it is a shape with equal edge lengths and angles. Prism is irregular because the cross-section is not "regular" in shape.

3. What is the volume of a prism?

The volume of a prism is equal to the area of one end multiplied by the prism's length.

Volume = Base area*length 

4. What is the formula for prism?

The volume of a prism is calculated as V=Bh, where B is the base area and h is the height. The prism's base is a rectangle.

5. What are the properties of prisms?

Prism Properties

  • The bottom and top lines are parallel and congruent.

  • Except for the base and top, each face is a rectangle. These are known as lateral faces.

  • Every lateral face has one edge in common with both the base and the top.

  • The common edge of two adjacent side faces defines the prism's height.