What Is a Convex Mirror?


Quick Answer

A convex mirror is in the shape of a curve, and the reflecting surface bulges outward toward the source of light. Because convex mirrors reflect the light in an outward direction, they do not serve to focus light. Instead, these mirrors create a virtual image, because the center of curvature and the focus are imaginary and inside the mirror, which is not a real position. It is impossible to project images from a convex mirror onto a screen.

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Full Answer

One of the most frequent uses of a convex mirror is on the passenger side of a vehicle. The convex shape of the mirror distorts distance perception in this mirror, but the fact that their image is upright, if a bit small, makes it attractive for this point on a car. The convex shape also yields a wider field of vision.

Other places where convex mirrors appear include hallways of schools, stores, hospitals, hotels and apartment complexes where seeing around a corner is helpful These convex mirrors generally mount on the ceiling on a wall at a hallway intersection to protect against collisions. They serve to increase visibility at any intersection where it is difficult to see coming traffic. Some ATMs also have convex mirrors installed to let bank customers see what is behind them.

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