Irregular reflection, or diffusion, consists of reflection in which the reflected rays of light are not parallel but take various directions, thus destroying the image of the light source. Rough, unpolished surfaces give such reflection. Smooth, unpolished surfaces generally give a combination of two kinds of reflection.

Diffused reflection is very important in the study of illumination inasmuch as diffused light plays an important part in the lighting of interiors. This form of reflection is seen in many photometer screens.

Light is also diffused when passing through semi-transparent shades or screens. In considering reflected light, we find that, if the surface on which the light falls is colored, the reflected light may be changed in it nature by the absorption of some of the colors. Since, as has been said, in interior lighting the reflected light forms a large part of the source of illumination, this illumination will depend upon the nature and the color of the reflecting surfaces.

Whenever light is reflected from a surface, either by direct or diffused reflection, a certain amount of light is absorbed by the surface. Table XIII gives the amount of white light reflected from different materials.

Table XIII. Relative Reflecting Power


White blotting paper


White cartridge paper


Chrome Yellow paper


Orange paper


Yellow wall paper


Light pink paper


Yellow cardboard


Light blue cardboard


Emerald green paper


Dark brown paper .


Vermilion paper


Blue-green paper.


Black paper


Black cloth


Black velvet


From this table it is seen that the light-colored papers reflect the light well, but of the darker colors only yellow has a comparatively high coefficient of reflection. Black velvet has the lowest value, but this only holds when the material is free from dust. Rooms with dark walls require a greater amount of illuminating power, as will be seen later.

Useful illumination may be considered under the following heads:

1. Residence Lighting.

2. Lighting of Public Halls, Offices, Drafting Rooms, Shops, etc.

3. Street Lighting.