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THE MENLO ROUNDTABLE

65

Temperature (°C)

Figure 6: Refraction index for increasing temperature

From Figure 5 it is clear that the index of refraction and the increase of salt content have a linear relationship, as the points form a nearly straight line. is relationship is what I had expected and proves my hypothesis partially correct. However, when it comes to the temperature, the experimental results did not conform to all of my expectations. e hot water and room-temperature water lie on the graphs exactly where I expected them to: the hot water at a lower index of refraction than the room temperature. e cold water for some reason has a lower refractive index than the room-temperature water, which is odd, because it has a higher density. is was unexpected, and without further experimentation I cannot be sure of the reasons, but my guess is that it was a result of experimental error. e dierence in temperature between the room-temperature and the cold water is only 15 degrees and the dierence in the observations is only a refractive index of 1.3379 vs. a refractive index of 1.3337. ese small dierences are easily within the range of experimental error, but without additional data it is impossible to know whether error or some other explanation is the actual cause of the divergence from the hypothesis.

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