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Investigate the factors that effect the resistance of the wire.

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Philippa Box 11W2

Physics investigation

Investigating Resistance

Aim: - My aim is to investigate the factors that effect the resistance of the wire.

Background Knowledge: -

Resistance is how hard it is to get a current through wire at a particular voltage (p.d). The equation for resistance is Resistance, R = p.d across the wire (v)

                                                                          Current through the wire (I)

The four factors affecting resistance are the length of the wire, as the length increases the resistance increases. The diameter of the wire, as the diameter increases the resistance decreases. The substance of the wire, some metals are better conductors of electricity than others and as temperature increases the resistance increases.

        The resistance increases as the wire increases because as the length increases there are more atoms for the electrons to pass through. The resistance decreases as the diameter of the wire increases because the atoms are more spaced out so the electrons can pass through the wire more easily. The resistance changes as the material changes because if a wire is a good conductor of electricity its atoms have electrons around them if it is a good conductor of electricity the electrons will break off very easily for example in copper.

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Apparatus: -  

  • Multimeter (measures resistance to 2 d.p)
  • Micrometer (measures c.s.a)
  • Nichrome wire (26 swg)
  • Crocodile clips
  • Battery pack
  • Wire

Method: - First of all I will measure out 5 lengths of wire, 30cm, 40cm, 50cm, 60cm and 70cm. I will do this by using a metre ruler. I will take 1 metre of wire to start with and measure the lengths of wire. I will cello tape the wire to the ruler to make sure that it is straight and that I’m getting the right amount of wire. I will then use a micrometer to make sure the wire is 26 swg. I will then set up my circuit and first put in 30 cm of wire to the circuit. I will do this buy putting crocodile clips on each end of the wire. I will then take the readings for the current after the wire and the voltage across the length of wire. I will then double check this by using a multimeter and measure the resistance across the piece of wire. I will repeat this three times. I will repeat the same method for all the other lengths of wire.

Fair test: - I will make it a fair test by using the same thickness of wire every time.

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Evaluation: - The first thing I would like to do is do my experiment again so that I can measure the resistance properly so that I can see if my prediction is really correct. I would measure the resistance properly by measuring the voltage across the wire and the diving the voltage by the current. I can see from my results that because all my readings do not touch the line of best fit they are not totally reliable. This may be because the temperature of the wire was different each time as I did not monitor the temperature or the length of the wire may not of been accurate because of the way the crocodile clips were placed. I would like to improve this by using 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 wire. I would do this to expand on my investigation.  

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