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Factors affecting the resistance of a wire

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Eleri Fflur Parry

PHYSICS COURSEWORK – Factors affecting the resistance of a wire                                      


In this coursework I am going to have to choose a factor that will affect the resistance of the wire. I’m going to choose only one factor to investigate. I shall decide on which factor I will use by looking at the four different factors that affect the resistance of a wire. I will choose which factor I will use by looking at each factor individually. I will find out which one would be the most affective and the easiest factor to measure.

Resistance occurs when the electrons traveling along the wire collide with the atoms of the wire. These collisions slow down the flow of electrons causing resistance. Resistance is a measure of how hard it is to move the electrons through the wire. The four things that can affect resistance are the length of the wire the width of the wire the material and the temperature of the wire.

The temperature of the wire would affect the resistance because as the wire is heated up the atoms in the wire will start

...read more.



1. Wire, over 50 cm long

2. Rheostat

3. Power supply

4. Six connecting wires

5. Two crocodile clips

6. Voltmeter

7. Ammeter


1. Connect circuit as shown in the diagram.

2. Adjust rheostat until the ammeter reads .3 A.

3. Record voltage on voltmeter

4. Repeat the experiment with the following lengths of wire, connected between the two crocodile clips:

- 10 cm

- 15 cm

- 20 cm

- 25 cm

- 30 cm

- 35 cm

- 40 cm

- 45 cm

- 50 cm

5. Use Ohm´s law to find the resistance of the wire, equation (1).



this is not a very dangerous experiment but despite this you must always handle electricity with care, keep the current low, handle with dry hands etc.

Accuracy: to keep this experiment as accurate as possible we need to make sure, firstly, that the length of the wire is measured precisely from the inside edge of the crocodile clips, making sure that the wire is straight when we do this. We must also make sure that the wire is straight when we conduct the experiment. If it is not, short circuits may occur and bends and kinks in the wire may effect the resistance, also. The reading that we take of the voltage should be done fairly promptly after the circuit is connected.

...read more.


Most errors in our experiment were encountered in the measuring of the wire. This is because it simply was not very practical to hold a piece of wire straight, whilst holding it next to a ruler and then trying to accurately fix crocodile clips to the right part on the wire. Also I do not feel that the crocodile clips were always fixed securely to the wire with a good connection. This also meant that they were easy to move about on the wire changing the length of it. Errors rarely occurred in the setting of the current and the reading of the voltage. It was just in the preparation area that they did occur. Another example of this is the wire was never totally straight when we started the experiment, which may also, as said earlier on, effect the resistance of it..

I do not think that doing any more results in our experiment would have made it any more accurate. I feel that the only way to make it more accurate would be to use a different method – perhaps were we had a bar that did not bend in place of the wire. We could even use a rheostat in place of the wire, because it is essentially a long coiled wire that is connected at different lengths to change the resistance of the circuit

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Electricity and Magnetism section.

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