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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 27, Iss. 7 — Apr. 1, 1988
  • pp: 1278–1280

Why some things are darker when wet

John Lekner and Michael C. Dorf  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 27, Issue 7, pp. 1278-1280 (1988)

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Ångstrom has proposed that rough absorbing materials are darker when wet because their diffuse reflection makes possible total internal reflection in the water film covering them, increasing the likelihood of the absorption of light by the surface. His model is extended here in two ways: the probability of internal reflection is calculated more accurately, and the effect on absorption of the decrease of the relative refractive index (liquid to material instead of air to material) is estimated. Both extensions decrease the albedo of the wetted surface, bringing the model into good agreement with experiment.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: June 6, 1987
Published: April 1, 1988

John Lekner and Michael C. Dorf, "Why some things are darker when wet," Appl. Opt. 27, 1278-1280 (1988)

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  1. A. Ångstrom, “The Albedo of Various Surfaces of Ground,” Geogr. Ann. 7, 323 (1925). [CrossRef]
  2. C. F. Bohren, “Multiple Scattering at the Beach,” Weatherwise (Aug.1983).
  3. S. A. Twomey, C. F. Bohren, J. L. Mergenthaler, “Reflectance and Albedo Differences Between Wet and Dry Surfaces,” Appl. Opt. 25, 431 (1986). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. M. Born, E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon, Oxford, 1965).
  5. J. Lekner, Theory of Reflection of Electromagnetic and Particle Waves (Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht, 1987).
  6. F. Stern, “Transmission of Isotropic Radiation Across an Interface Between Two Dielectrics,” Appl. Opt. 3, 111 (1964). [CrossRef]
  7. W. D. Sellers, Physical Climatology (U. Chicago Press, 1965).

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