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Find out if the length of a wire affects its electrical resistance and if so, to what extent.

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Introduction

Aim I aim to find out if the length of a wire affects its electrical resistance and if so, to what extent. Prediction I predict that the longer a piece of wire is, the higher its resistance, and the less current it will let through. This is because the electrons lose energy trying to get through the rigid structure of the ions in the wire which slows them down through collisions. Therefore, if they are losing energy all the time they are travelling through the wire, the longer the wire, the more energy lost. Apparatus 5 wires Ammeter Voltmeter Power pack 2 Crocodile clips 1m of nicrome wire Metre rule Method Set up the apparatus as in the diagram, with the voltmeter in parallel with the variable length of wire, and the ammeter in series with it. Place one crocodile clip at the end of the nicrome wire, and the other exactly 10cm (as measured by the metre rule) ...read more.

Middle

Wire length (cm) Volts Amperes Ohms (to 2 decimal places) 10 0.77 1.08 0.71 20 0.94 0.69 1.36 30 1.08 0.54 2.00 40 1.16 0.42 2.76 50 1.22 0.36 3.38 60 1.27 0.31 4.10 70 1.28 0.27 4.74 80 1.31 0.24 5.46 90 1.33 0.22 6.05 100 1.36 0.20 6.80 Average Wire length (cm) Volts Amperes Ohms (to 2 decimal places) 10 0.77 1.09 0.70 20 0.93 0.65 1.44 30 1.03 0.50 2.08 40 1.12 0.41 2.75 50 1.19 0.35 3.42 60 1.23 0.30 4.11 70 1.27 0.27 4.72 80 1.29 0.24 5.46 90 1.32 0.22 6.08 100 1.34 0.20 6.83 From these results, I can see, that my original hypothesis was correct, because as the length of wire got longer, the volts reading increased, the amps reading decreased, and therefore the resistance in ohms increased. This supports my original prediction, because when the wire length got longer, there was a longer length of rigid ions for the moving electrons to use up energy getting through, and therefore the current (shown by the ammeter reading) ...read more.

Conclusion

the results were all similar with each set of results lying close to the line of best fit, all with similar gradients. My experiment was likely to be slightly unreliable, because as the experiment progressed, the wire heated up, and may have affected the resistance. To overcome this problem, measurements should be taken quickly, and the wire allowed to cool down between readings. Also the length of the wire used in the experiment may not be exact, as I used a wooden metre rule, and measured it by hand, which my have been slightly inaccurate, however repeating the experiment twice should have evened out any inaccuracies. To improve this experiment and make it more reliable, I could record results at smaller intervals of length of wire e.g. record results after every 1cm of wire instead of every 10cm. In any further experiments, I would also do a set of results with a thicker piece of wire, to see if I would get the same pattern of results, and gradient. ...read more.

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