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GCSE Physics Resistance of a Wire

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GCSE Physics Resistance of a Wire

Before starting my coursework I have decided to chose a factor that will affect the resistance of a wire.
I shall do this by going through all of the factors that affect the resistance of a wire and how I would
measuring each factor to find out which would be the most effective and easiest factor to measure.
Below is a list of factors and reasons why they affect the resistance of a wire. From this list of factors I
shall only pick one factor to investigate. To explain the how the factors would affect the resistance of a
wire I have drawn a diagram to show how resistance occurs.


Resistance occurs when the electrons travelling 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.

1.Temperature : If the wire is heated up the atoms in the wire will start to vibrate because of their
increase in energy. This causes more collisions between the electrons and the atoms as
the atoms are moving into the path of the electrons. This increase in collisions means that

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Because the length of the wire is only half the length of the wire below there should be half the number
of collisions between the electrons and the atoms.
The wire below is twice the length of the wire above and so there should be twice the number of atoms
resulting in twice as many collisions and a predicted doubling of the resistance.

Preliminary Method

In this preliminary experiment I will select a wire that will be used in my main experiment when

investing the connecting between the length of the wire and the resistance of the wire.

To ensure a fair test whilst carrying out my preliminary experiments I am going to be very careful

when selecting my independent variables which are the width of the wire and the wire material. I am

going to use a constant voltage of 2 volts and a constant length of 50 cm.

Apparatus: Meter ruler ¡V To measure the wire being tested to ensure a fair test.

Selection of wires ¡V Different materials and widths but the same length.

Crocodile clips ¡V To connect the wire being investigated to the rest of the circuit.

Voltmeter & Ammeter ¡V To measure the resistance.

Wires ¡V To connect the above items and to complete the circuit.

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The first of these modifications would be the circuit that I would use. To be more accurate with my results I would use the circuit layout below:





Instead of connecting the voltmeter to the main circuit I would connect it to the wire which is being tested. I would do this so that the voltmeter is measuring the voltage of just the wire being tested and not the wires of the main circuit as well.
To also improve on my results I would use a digital voltmeter instead of an analogue meter. I would do this because a digital voltmeter is a lot more accurate than an analogue because if the needle in the analogue voltmeter is bent then the readings given off will be false whereas a digital voltmeter does not rely on a needle or any other manual movements.
The next modification I would make would be to use pointers instead of crocodile clips , I would do this because pointers would be more accurate. The pointers would be more accurate because the tips have a much smaller area than the crocodile clips giving a more accurate measurement of the length of wire.
As well as making these modifications I would also improve my Investigation by testing the same wire but different widths of that wire. I would do this to expand on my Investigation.


...read more.

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