Is ice transparent or translucent?« Back to Questions List

Before discussing about the nature of ice, let us first look at the difference between transparency and translucence. Transparent molecules appear much clearer than translucent materials. Both of them allow light to pass through them. But translucent one does not necessarily follow the laws of refraction. They absorb much light than the transparent material.


ice, transparent, translucent

You know that light travels in a straight path. When light passes through a transparent material like a clear glass, it does not get scattered. Almost all of the light that passes through the transparent material passes through it making it visible. That’s why transparent substances are clear. Plastic bottles, clear glass, transparent quartz crystals, clothes etc are examples of transparent objects.

Frosted glass and ice are for instance translucent objects. This means light does not always pass through it in a direct path. The direction of light changes as it enters the ice crystal. The distances between the individual atoms within ice vary and this results in alteration of light’s path. It finally exits in a different direction than it entered ice.


ice, transparent, transluscent

Transparent materials allow for clear image formation while translucent ones do not. Image formation depends on the thickness of translucent objects. The thin ones allow some light to pass through and the rest scatters while the thick ones do not let light pass through. The inside of thick ones cannot be viewed while that of thin ones can be viewed to some extent.


What makes objects look different from the original form?

What does law of reflection say?

Why do porous objects appear darker when wet?