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An investigation into the factors which affect the electrical resistance of a length of wire.

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An investigation into the factors which affect the electrical resistance of a length of wire



To find how the length of a wire affects its resistance.


An investigation into the factors which affect the electrical resistance of a length of wire. This basically means that we are investigating if the length of a wire affects the resistance.

Some materials such as metals are good conductors of electricity because they have free electrons. All metals are good conductors of electricity in both there solid and liquid states. Solid ionic compounds are poor conductors of electricity. However when molten or in aqueous solution the crystal lattice is broken up and the ions are free to move.

Non metals do not have free electrons. Metals have free electrons. Free electrons are the outer shell electrons.

Drift velocity –


As you can see here I have given a example of one of the free electrons. You could imagine it is on all of the atoms.

As you can see here the electron is pointing to one direction only. You could imagine all of the other electrons on the atom are pointing the same way.

I have found by out by doing some research of my own by looking in a chemistry book

...read more.


A flow of electrons causes a current. Resistance is caused by obstruction to the flow of charge (free electrons). If the metal is pure, crystal lattice is very regular. The electrons will then flow through easily because there will be lots of straight routes for the electrons to follow. If a positive ion gets in the way of an electron, then the electron will collide with the ion.


Factors which can change the resistance of wire:

  1. length of wire
  2. thickness of wire
  3. temperature of wire
  4. Material wire made from.


Well I predict that, in the case where the length of the wire is varied, as the wire becomes longer the resistance of the wire increases. I also predict that the resistance is proportional to the length of wire. So as the length of the wire increases in equal steps, so does the resistance in equal steps. I predict this because if the length of wire increases there are more atoms so free electrons collide more. So the temperature increases so then resistance increases. Double the length, double the ions, double the electrons so double the resistants.

On this page I have input a diagram to make my prediction clearer.

Here I have input a diagram to specify what I am saying for my prediction:

Here you can see there is a smaller length of wire then of the opposite.

...read more.


This was a successful experiment overall as me and my team worked well and hard at it to achieve the best possible grades. Although we have some difficulties at the start, but gradually as we paid more interest and got on with it my predictions matched up to the conclusion that it clearly showed the resistance was directly proportional to the length of the wire and inversely proportional to the cross sectional area of the wire.

I think the only way of improving our results and making our results more accurate is by using digitalised meters. As I said the procedure was not very accuracy because error due to instrument (systematic error) and human error (random error). If here is ant fault in calibration then that will be carried over to every measurement. A repeated result will make it more accurate.

        Avoid parallax error- look from the top. I repeated 3 times and write down average and that’s how I reduced the error, hence: my results look very accurate to me.

        Reliability- I kept all the variables same – THICKNESS and MATERIAL.  My repeated results appear to be the same; therefore my results must be reliable. If the wire gets hotter, the particles vibrate more, so the resistant increases. The temperature for the shorter length of the wire is more likely to be hotter.                

I think I worked well in my group and I hope to do the very best.

...read more.

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