To understand reflection you have to know about the relationships of
electron and light. If you didn’t mean about reflection, please don’t
mind this mail.
What actually happens at the surface of a metal when we do buffing
and polishing? Is the heat generated a requirement or a hindrance?
The light is a kind of electromagnetic(radio) wave that human can
perceive. There are many names of electromagnetic wave with its
energy. A little lower energy electromagnetic wave is called
"infra-red wave". A little higher energy wave is called “ultra-violet
wave”. Higher energy wave than UV is called “X-ray”, and higher than X
is called “Gamma-ray”. The wave length we can see is about from
0.0004mm (violet) to 0.0008mm(red).
Classical mechanics only explains how the reflection occurs, but
cannot explain why. So I like to explain the essence with quantum
mechanics, but only briefly.
A charged particle, in this case an electron on metal surface,
vibrates in the electromagnetic wave (light). The frequency of the
vibration is the same as the wave. When an electron moves because of
incoming electromagnetic wave, it becomes a source of electromagnetic
wave with the same frequency. One electron can radiate only weak
electromagnetic wave. But if many electrons radiate the same
electromagnetic waves, the electromagnetic waves interfere each other.
Then strong electromagnetic wave is created. This electromagnetic wave
created by many electrons is called reflection.
The flatter the surface of the metal (on the order of the length of
light), the stronger the interference becomes. So if you want a shiny
metal surface, you have to polish it on the order of 0.001mm (one
micron) or smaller. Perhaps almost all people think that it’s too
small, but it’s not so small. The thickness of aluminum foil is
If someone wants to know more or has questions, please let me know.
But the problems of light is very difficult, so I may not answer
Takashi Tomoeda @Takashi_Tomoeda