A deflection, in physics, refers to the change in an object's velocity as a consequence of contact (collision) with a surface or the influence of a field. Examples of the former include a ball bouncing off the ground or a bat; examples of the latter include a beam of electrons used to produce a picture, or the relativistic bending of light due to gravity.
An object's deflective efficiency can never equal or surpass 100%, for example:
- a mirror will never reflect exactly the same amount of light cast upon it, though it may concentrate the light which is reflected into a narrower beam.
- on hitting the ground, a ball previously in free-fall (meaning no force other than gravity acted upon it) will never bounce back up to the place where it first started to descend.
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