What Is the Difference in a Convex & a Concave Mirror?

Written by janet veverka
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What Is the Difference in a Convex & a Concave Mirror?
A security mirror is an example of a convex mirror (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of sudarshan vijayaraghavan)

A mirror that is flat completely reflects light; however, if a mirror is curved, the light will reflect in a certain direction, depending on whether it is concave (curved in) or convex (curved out).

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Both convex and concave mirrors are essentially bent mirrors similar to the curve of a ball.

Structural Differences

Concave mirrors are bent inward as if you are looking at the inside of a ball. Convex mirrors are bent outward as if you are looking at the outside of a ball.

Light Reflection

Convex mirrors reflect light outward and concave mirrors reflect light inward.

Practical Uses

Both types of these mirrors are employed in a variety of practical ways such as security mirrors, passenger-side car mirrors and within telescopes and cameras.


Convex mirrors make images appear smaller, while concave mirrors make images appear larger.

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