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How the length and thickness of a wire affects its resistance.

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Adam Todd 10L

28th May 2004

How the length and thickness of a

wire affects its resistance

I will be looking at how the length and thickness of a wire can affect its resistance when a current is passed through it.

The variables which could affect the resistance level of the wire are the thickness, length and type of wire. This will then affect the temperature and resistance of the wire.

Of these I will investigate the length of the wire and how it affects the resistance overall. When I do the experiment I will keep the type and length of wire the same. Also I will keep the voltage the same. The variable that I will change is the thickness of the wire. I will then record the different resistances of the wires by plugging in ammeters and voltmeters, taking the results, and then calculate the resistance in ohms (Ω) using the formula Resistance=               .image00.png

        The difference in thickness will change the resistance because of the equations used to calculate resistance. I predict that more thickness will decrease the resistance because there is more room for the current to move through.

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Experiment 1

Experiment 2

Average Resistance








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        Next is the type of wire used. From the tables and graphs we can see that the metal with least resistance is Copper, Constantan is in the middle, and Nichrome has the highest. This will be because of the chemical structures of each metal differs so that the number of free electrons differs in each metal – Copper will have most whilst Nichrome has the least.

        From calculating the average gradients of each type of wire also, I can see the relationship of ohms per centimetre of wire. This too shows Copper to have the lowest resistance, and Constantan to have the highest. The factory rating below is the officially released ohms per centimetre rate. My experimental results were on average the same as these ratings, so they seem to be fairly accurate.


        To improve on my results I would have included more experiments in my experiment of thickness of wire. This is because it would have made it much more accurate. Seeing as I only did this experiment once, there could well have been some anomalous results which would have been avoided if I had redone the experiment a few more times. However, the results seemed fairly consistent with each other, as well as with my hypothesis.

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