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In this experiment I am going to investigate the factors that affect the resistance of a wire.

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Jamie Battu 10RPhysics Coursework

Investigation Of The Resistance Of A Wire

Preliminary Aim: In this experiment I am going to investigate the factors that affect the resistance of a wire.

Background Information:

Resistance occurs when we have electrons that travel along a wire, in a circuit, and they collide with the atoms in the wires of the circuit. This collision is like friction as it slows down the movement of electrons in the circuit. This is resistance. We measure resistance in ohms (image00.png). The equation we use to work out resistance is; R=V/I

Resistance is low in a conductor and high in an insulator. We represent resistance with the symbol R.  When we use resistors (resistance component) in a circuit it is used to control the flow of current through a circuit or to convert energy into heat and light. The component is designed to reduce the flow of current in a circuit. Resistance is the opposition to current in a circuit.


Length of wire:

The larger the length of the wire, the larger the resistance. This is because there are more atoms from the metal so there is more chance that the electrons would collide with one of the atoms therefore there is more resistance.

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In this experiment we are only changing one factor - the length of the wire, the factors that we are going to keep the same are as follows:

We must keep the surrounding room temperature the same or the particles in the wire will move faster (if the temperature is increased) and this will therefore have an effect on the resistance.

The material of the wire must also be kept the same as different materials have different conductivity. The last two factors will be kept the same by using the same wire all of the way through the experiment.

The current that we pass through the wire is to be kept the same, also. If this is changed the temperature of the wire might change in a way that is not constant making the results more confusing.


I predict that the longer the piece of wire, the greater the resistance will be. This is due to the idea of the free moving electrons being resisted by the atoms in the wire. In a longer piece of wire, there would be more atoms for the electrons to collide with and so the resistance would be greater. The relationship between the wire length and the resistance should be directly proportional.

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To also improve on my results I could use a new or higher quality digital voltmeter. I could also have repeated the same lengths of wire more times. the thickness of the wire  may vary by a small amount and maybe helping to cause the anomalous results. Sometimes the ammeters flicked between a decimal point, I maybe could have thought it was the wrong number and therefore would have ended up with the wrong average resistance. In the experiment, I did not control the room temperature but instead just assumed it was keep constant throughout my experiment; this could have made the wire get hotter and therefore making my experiment not as accurate. In future experiments I would control this variable factor and make it a constant factor. I would do this, as it would be an unfair test if there were two known variables.
As well as making these modifications, I could also expand on my investigation by testing the same wire but different widths of that wire.

I think the circuit and method used was quite suitable although I would make the modifications above to improve my results. If I did this experiment again I would defiantly use top quality equipment, I would probably control the temperature. After changing those few things, there is not really much difference to how I would do the experiment again.

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