The Physics
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Index of Refraction of Vegetable Oil

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Physical Science Reference Table [pdf]. North Carolina Public School, 2000. The Index of Refraction for Common Substances (λ = 5.9 × 10−7 m)
Air 1.00
Alcohol 1.36
Canada Balsam 1.53
Corn Oil 1.47
Diamond 2.42
Robin Wood. Refraction Index of Various Substances for 3D Modelers.
Common Liquids
Oil, Orange 1.473
Oil, Safflower 1.466
Oil, Vegetable (50°) 1.47
Oil of Wintergreen 1.536
Klofutar, C. and D. Rudan-Tasic. Characteristics of Vegetable Oils of Some Slovene Manufacturers [pdf]. University of Ljubljana, 7 June 1999: 516. [see table below] 1.4674–1.4736
Paseiro-Losada, P; López-Fabal, M. F.; Pérez-Lamela, C.; Sanmartín-Fenollera, P.; Paz-Abuín, S. Two RP-HPLC Methods To Quantify And Identify Bisphenol A) [pdf]. Universidad de Santiagode Compostela. 1999. "Olive oil rectified complying with EU legislation:iodine absorption number (Wijs method) = 80–88; index of refraction at 25 °C = 1.4665–1.4679" 1.4665–1.4679
Crude Corn Oil. Food Commodity Site of CH Non-Food Import-Export Corp. "Refraction Index: 1.4719–1.4740 @ 25 Degree C; Iodine Index: 120–144" 1.4719–1.4740

What substances do you think of when you hear index of refraction? Most likely you would think of air, water, or maybe diamond. Often times people do not think of vegetable oil. Maybe that's why there is not as much information on the index of refraction of vegetable oil as there are other substances. Well here is a little section on the index of refraction of vegetable oil for those who are interested.

Vegetable oil is any oil obtained from plants and used in food products and industrially. Vegetable oil is an ester of glycerin and has fluctuating blends of fatty acids. Vegetable oil is often times used for cooking but is also used for industrial, medical, and fuel purposes. Although vegetable oil can be made from various plants, soybean oil is usually sold as vegetable oil in the United States.

Refraction is the change of direction of light rays as it travels through one substance to another. This occurs when the light travels at different speeds through materials with different densities. The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 m/s, which is represented by the letter c. The equation for speed of light in a materials equals speed of light in a vacuum divided by the index of refraction (v = c/n). The index of refraction is a constant that can be used as a ratio in the relationship between the angle of incident and the angle of refraction known as Snell's law. Snell's Law is named after Willebrord Snell van Roijen who discovered the relationship but it was René Descartes who published the formula as ni sinθi = nr sinθr.

When the density of vegetable oil is graphed with the index of refraction there is no relationship. The refraction of the vegetable oil had nothing to do with the density as you can see from the graph above. Now that you have all this information on the index of refraction of vegetable oil, what you will do with it I don't know.

Ting Ting Luo -- 2006