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How temperature affects resistance on a piece of wire

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How temperature affects resistance on a piece of wire:

Resistance is how 'hard' it is to 'push' a current through a substance. There are 4 main factors which effect resistance: -

  1.    Length to travel - the further the electrons has to travel the higher the resistance
  2.    Temperature - the higher the temperature the more energy the electron has, the lower the temperature the lower the energy of the electron, with more heat the resistance drop and vice versa
  1. Cross-sectional area - the larger the cross section the lower the resistance
  2. Type of metal - different metals have different resistances

How do I find out the resistance of a component in a circuit: Get an amp meter and put it in series, get a Volt meter and put this in series with the component, to find the resistance you use the equation:


'I' being the current

'R' being the resistance

'V' being the voltage or potential difference

You need to rearrange the equation so that resistance = voltage over current:


All you need to do is input the voltage (in Volts) over the current (in Amps) and your result is resistance.

In my

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Resistance = 3.085 Ω

With 10m I got these results:

Cold Water:

Amps = 0.0748

Voltage = 0.41

Resistance = 5.481 Ω

Hot Water:

Amps = 0.071

Voltage = 0.46

Resistance = 6.478 Ω

These results show me that using a longer wire is going to produce more precise results, I get more precise readings on the volt meter and amp meter which is going to produce more accurate resistance readings. To keep the result as reliable as possible I will do the experiment at least 3 times (ideally more if times permits) each time changing the wires/ equipment (apart from my testing wire) and take the measurements again. I am going to use a 10m length of enameled copper wire

Equipment I will need to use:

  •  Amp meter - I will need to measure the amps to find out the resistance
  •  Volt meter - I will need to measure the volts to find out the resistance . Variable Resistor - to keep the current of the circuit under 200mA so I can use the 200mA range on the Amp meter - this is because I can gain more precise results
  •  Batteries or power source - Obviously I will need to power the circuit, a power supply would be better as I always get the same voltage/current, these are not available so I will have to use batteries, the power they supply shouldn't make too much difference to the results
  •  Wires - to connect the circuit up
  •  Crocodile clips - to attach the wires to my ‘testing wire'
  •  Enameled copper wire - this is what I am testing the resistance of.
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It would be interesting to cool the copper wire to its critical temperature thus demonstrating superconductivity. Unfortunately copper is not a superconductor this is because copper electrons cannot cooper pair because copper’s tightly packed lattice constrains the vibrations needed for cooper pairing to take place. These characteristics are also displayed in gold and silver. According to the trend line calculated from the means copper would be no conductivity at -247°C – it would be interesting to test to see if there is any resistance at this temperature adding this to a the graph.

I think it would have been better to have a larger range of results so maybe - 100°C to 100°C using liquid nitrogen to cool it down to that temperature. This would be at 20°C increments.

I am quite confident in saying that my conclusion is accurate in the point that it declares that resistance is affected by temperature in a directly proportional way. The precision of my instruments makes me doubt the exact measurements I have taken, the thermometer is accurate to ±1°C. The multimeter is accurate to ±1mA however I highly doubt its precision (i.e. it’s not calibrated accurately).

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