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Investigate the factors affecting the Resistance of a piece of wire.

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GCSE Physics coursework

Investigate the factors affecting the Resistance of a piece of wire

In a metal such as a piece of wire the atoms are arranged in a regular pattern and are held in position by electrical forces. The positive charges in the atom are concentrated in the atom’s nucleus and are unable to move. The negative charges, the electrons are away from the nucleus and are continually moving. When a metal conductor is connected to a battery the negatively-charged electrons move towards the positive end. This flow of charge creates an electric circuit. Metals are good conductors of electricity because they contain many free electrons.

When a metal conducts electricity the current is carried by electrons. The battery forces the electrons through the conductor.  The battery gives electrical energy to each electron, and as the particle makes its way round the circuit it gives up this energy in resistors in the form of heat.

Resistance is anything that constricts the flow of electrons. Voltage opposes resistance because it is trying to push the current round the circuit. The higher the resistance the less current flows through the circuit.

The amount of resistance in an electric current determines the amount of current in the circuit for any given voltage.

Resistance is measured by using the following equation:

...read more.


Therefore the range of current for each length of wire was inbetween these two values.

In helping to prepare my planning I have referred to the following sources:

  • Co-ordinated Science Physics Textbook
  • CGP, GCSE Double Science, Physics revision guide.

GCSE Physics coursework

Investigate the factors affecting resistance of a piece a wire




Different lengths of wire will we taken and added to a circuit. The resistance will be calculated, by finding out the voltage and current. A voltmeter will be used to measure the voltage and an ammeter to measure the current. A variable resistor will introduced to alter the current, which will make the results more accurate. The results will then be recorded in a table and graph, and any patterns that emerge will be recorded.


Length of wire (cm)

Voltage (V)

Current (A)

Resistance (Ω)

Average Resistance (Ω)






















Length of wire (cm)

Voltage (V)

Current (A)

Resistance (Ω)

Average Resistance (Ω)






















...read more.


This investigation has worked well, and has fitted my prediction.

The resistance of a wire depends on the number of collisions the electrons have with the atoms of the material. If there is a greater number of atoms there will be a larger number of collisions, which will increase the resistance of the wire. If a length of a wire contains a certain number of atoms, when the length is increased the number of atoms will also increase.

I think my method was a good way of carrying out this investigation. This is because I had a sufficient power supply, and was able to make my results more accurate by using a variable resistor.

If this experiment was repeated I could make sure that the wires were measured accurately using a meter rule, and I could check it again to make sure they are the correct length.

If I were to extend this investigation I would investigate the resistance of wire at different lengths, and have values inbetween the range I have already investigated. I would also investigate other factors which affect resistance, such as thickness of wire, temperature, material etc. I could therefore draw a conclusion what materials have more resistance than others, and I could also find out the best conditions in which resistance can be minimised.

Hayley Morgan

...read more.

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