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Find out how the thickness and length of an electrical conductor affect its resistance.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Introduction

Electricity is something we have all around us every day but we never really think about it, even though it is such an important part of ours life’s.

What is electricity?

Before investigating the resistance of different metals it is important to understand the principal of electricity. Electricity is formed by the movement or flow of electrons being attracted away from their atoms by an applied force. This is easier to do with the some elements than with others. All atoms are made up of a central nucleus containing a number of positively charged protons and some have neutral charged neutrons this overhaul positive charge of the nucleus is counter balanced with negatively charged electrons that orbit the nucleus in layers or shells, this gives the atom an overhaul neutral charge. In some materials the electrons in the outer shell are only just hanging on by a very weak bond and can move around at random between atoms of the same material these are called free electrons.

If a positive charge is applied to the material the free electrons will be attracted towards it pulling them away from

...read more.

Middle

All of the tests were then repeated and the results from the first combined and averaged out to improve the accuracy mathematically

Safety

Has with all experiments carried out in science labs, care should be taken at all times. Specially when working with electricity. I took care when touching the wires as they could be hot. I turned the power off at regular intervals to let it cool down. I also made sure the area I was working in was dry and there was no risk of water getting onto the wires, because this could be fatal when working with electricity.

First results ( nickel chrome wire )

Test results (first test) Swg 36

length

volt

current

resistance

40

5v

2.8

1.8

80

5v

1.4

3.6

120

5v

0.9

5.6

160

5v

0.6

8.3

200

5v

0.5

10.0

Test results (first test) swg 30

Length

Volt

Current

resistance

40

5v

7.6

0.7

80

5v

3.5

1.4

120

5v

2.5

2.0

160

5v

2.0

2.5

200

5v

1.6

3.1

Test results (first test)Swg 26

Length

Volt

Current

Resistance

40

5v

17.2

0.29

80

5v

11.1

0.45

120

5v

9.2

0.54

160

5v

4.2

1.2

200

5v

3.4

1.5

image00.png

...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation

I believe the experiment and its results prove the original prediction to be correct and show clearly that the resistance of the nickel chrome wire is proportional to its length, this table shows that as the length of the wire doubles from 40 to 80 the resistance also doubles from 0.63 ohms to 1.3 ohms the same is true for all the results, this can be explained because

Test results (Average) swg 30

Length

Resistance

40

0.63

80

1.3

120

1.9

160

2.43

200

3.0

the longer the wire the further the electrons have to travel and may collide with other particles, so increasing the resistance. The resistance is inversely proportional to its cross sectional area, the greater the area the more electrons are available the flow as current.

The method used was reliable but it could be improved by the use of more secure way to attach the leads onto the test wire, screw type connections for example, also the heating affect of the current flowing through the wire will also affect the result, I noticed that the wire that was being tested became very hot and had to be allowed to cool down between tests. This could be reduced by only applying the test voltage for a few seconds after all the connections have been made.

...read more.

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