The Physics
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Index of Refraction of Lucite

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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The State Education Department. 2002 Edition Reference Table for Physical Science Setting/Physics 2002. Albany, New York: DOE. 2001-2002.
Absolute Indices Of Refraction
(f = 5.09 × 1014 Hz)
Glass, Flint1.66
Quartz, fused1.46
Robin Wood. Refraction Index of Various Substances for 3D Models.
Common Transparent Materials
Eye, Vitreous humor 1.34 Glass, Fused Silica 1.459 Plastic 1.460-1.55
Glass, Arsenic Trisulfide 2.04 Glass, Pyrex 1.474 Plexiglas 1.488
Glass, Crown (common) 1.52 Lucite 1.495 Salt 1.516
Lide, David. Handbook For Chemistry and Physics 62nd Edition 1981-1982. New York: CRC Press.1981: 3-291 "10655 2-Propenoic acid, methyl ester, Methyl acrylate 1.4020 at 20 °C" 1.4020
Lide, David. Handbook For Chemistry and Physics 81st Edition 2001-2002. New York: CRC Press. 2001-2002: 3-291. "10655 2-Propenoice acid, methyl ester, Methyl acrylate 1.4020 at 20 °C" 1.4020
Gieck, Kurt and Reiner. Engineering Formula's Guide 7th Edition 1997.New York: Mc-Graw Hill. 1997.
Solid matter in relation to the atm Fluid matter Gasous matter in relation to vacuum
Plexigas 1.49 Water 1.33 Hydrogen 1.000292
Quartz 1.54 Alcohol 1.36 Oxygen 1.000271

Chemical Structure of PMMA

Lucite is an organic polymer with the chemical amine of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and the chemical formula of C4H8O2. PMMA can be made into various items such as Lucite, Plexiglas and Acrylite. PMMA is commonly used in the production of optical lenses (such as contact lenses), watch crystals, aircraft windshields, skylights, and outdoor signs and other various hard plastic substances. PMMA is commonly used for these substances due to its changing molecular structure and can vary its durability from soft as paper to hard as glass. Lucite (or PMMA) can also be made to resemble marble, and some cases can be used to create bathtubs and sinks for homes.

Lucite was discovered by DuPont scientists in 1931 while they were searching for a method of high-pressure technology for developing an ammonia product that could substitute plastic. The newly found substance proved to be stronger then plastic and was in high demand in World War II, used commonly for weapons and parts for planes, tanks, and guns. after the war, Lucite was introduced for the the public use and became widely popular for a plastic substitute.

The index of refraction (n) for any substance is the speed of light (c) over the value of speed of light through a medium (v). The value for Lucite is roughly 1.5, meaning that speed of light in Lucite is 2.00x108 m/s. The reason why we get different values for the index of refraction for Lucite is because the constants in the material are not always actually constant. The permittivity constants for the material will always vary by a small amount and light is never a continuous wave, so you'll always get a different number for n.

Emre Erdal -- 2005