Uses for Convex Mirrors

by Karen Maas
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Image by, courtesy of sudarshan vijayaraghavan

A convex mirror has a wider range of view than a plane mirror, giving it many uses, especially relating to safety. Convex mirrors can be found indoors and out, on vehicles and in conjunction with security cameras.

The Convex Mirror

Three types of mirrors are plane mirrors, concave mirrors and convex mirrors. The plane mirror is a flat surface, where the object reflected has an image the same size. The concave mirrors, curved as the inside of a bowl, are used for focusing light, and the images often appear larger and upside down to the original object. The convex mirror is curved as the outside of a bowl, reflects a wider viewing area and the images reflected appear smaller.

Convex Mirrors Indoors

Convex mirrors are used indoors in offices and warehouses where corridors and hallways intersect, so that collisions can be avoided. Mirrors can be mounted near corners on the walls, or over intersections on the ceiling. They can also be mounted in corners, where two passages come together. They can be made of metals or polycarbonates, and can have varying degrees of curvature. There are also convex mirrors specifically meant for use on forklifts, again for avoiding collision situations in a warehouse environment.

Convex Mirrors Outdoors

Convex mirrors are used outdoors, similar to indoors, to avoid collisions. They can be mounted on the outside of buildings or mounted on poles for seeing reflections around corners or on otherwise blind hills. They are made of materials for outdoor weather conditions, as well.

Convex Mirrors and Security

Convex mirrors are also used in security situations. Not only can they be used to prevent collisions on intersections, they can be mounted as well to protect workers and prevent thievery. Security personnel (and security cameras) can watch the mirrors, and the mirrors can be coated so that cameras can be mounted inside.

Convex Mirrors and Vehicles

Convex mirrors are often used on vehicular rear-view mirrors. On cars, the passenger mirror is often a convex mirror, and will be labeled that objects appear smaller in the mirror, and are closer, because of the convex mirror physics. On larger truck mirrors, there is often a circular convex mirror mounted on the plane mirror, for wider angle viewing.

Convex Mirrors and Inspection

Convex mirrors are useful for inspecting places difficult to get to. The mirrors are mounted on rods of the appropriate size, and can be extended with lights under objects to view the underside. This is often used with car and appliance repair, for larger mirrors and extensions. Clocks or other possible inspections would use smaller, appropriately sized mirrors.


Convex mirrors have many applications. For safety, security, extra visibility-many applications. They can be obvious, or not noticeable, but it would be difficult in some situations to be without them.

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