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Refractive Index

Refractive Index. A measure of the degree to which the direction of a ray of light is changed as it passes at an oblique angle from one medium, as air, into another medium, as a liquid, that changes its speed and, as a result, alters its direction. It is applied for identifying and measuring the components of such substances as liquid fats (q.v.) and oil (q.v.), sweeteners (q.v.), etc.