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Investigate young's modulus behind Constantan and Copper.

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In this physics coursework, I have been asked to investigate young’s modulus behind Constantan and Copper. I will produce the stress strain graphs showing the young’s modulus for both the metals. I will after when constructing the graphs, I will discuss the physics behind my results and I will compare the young’s modulus for both materials.    


  • To draw the stress-strain graphs for a metal and an alloy.
  • To work out the figures for young’s modulus for both metals.
  • To discuss the physics behind my results.


For this particular investigation, I have been issued with the results and have been asked to analyse the results finding the young’s modulus for two materials, which are: Copper and Constantan. From the results given, I will construct the necessary graphs, analyse, and compare the materials so I can successfully compare the young’s modulus of the given materials. I have been provided with the following information: the force applied to the material, three results for the extension, which will help me gain accuracy when averaging this out.

I will produce a graph showing the stress-strain from the data, which has been provided. This will present me the young’s modulus of the metal (alloy), and subsequently I will create a second graph, which will show Force-extension, and I will average out the extension. In this graph, I will present the metal and the alloy on the same graph paper so that I can find any patterns, which may arise. I will hand draw my graphs to great accuracy; therefore the results and judgment I make will be based on how accurate my graphs are drawn out.  

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From my graphs, I will find out the gradient and therefore be able to work out young’s modulus by the formulae above. I believe that young’s modulus for constantan will be high because I consider from the evidence provided that it will be able to take more strain then the copper (crystalline). I deem this simply because constantan being an alloy can take more of a load then a pure metal. Here is a typical example of a stress train graph: (obtained from my physics textbook)




Fair test:

  • Test the wire to get an average; I will do this three times.
  • All of my figures will be to three significant figures.
  • I will carry this out on the same day in the same conditions, using all of the same apparatus.
  • I will keep the metre stick stuck down to the table and not move it, so that it won’t affect my results, when marking off the extension.


I will be using the following:

  • Pulley
  • Metre ruler and a marker
  • Mass weights and actual storage unit
  • Wooden blocks to hold the wire in place
  • A G clamp.


I will ensure that I keep this a safe experiment by:

  • Keeping the cardboard over the wire, as when the wire snaps the wire would not suddenly lift up and cause any danger.
  • I will also make sure there are not people crowding the experiment when it is being carried out, as the weights can cause danger if they fall.


I have entered the results I have been given into Microsoft excel. From this the extension I have been given, is given in mm, but in physics we have to convert mm to metres.

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        The experiment in general had gone according to plan. I’m pleased with what I had found out through the results as I believe my prediction was correct and backed up by the results from the graph I had achieved. I believe that repeating the experiment three times meant that I had accurate results as from the average extension I plotted the graphs. Concluding this experiment I had found out that constant had the higher young’s modulus due to it being an alloy and containing the 40% of Nickel which gives it the strength property. Copper however, had been more flexible being a pure metal the atoms were easily dislocated and this resulted in copper breaking very easily as it had a small elastic limit.

Improvements-IF TO DO IT AGAIN


I had obtained information from the following resources:

  • AS physics textbook: I had found this source extremely interesting and useful as much of the diagrams I had used came from this textbook, which explained the comparison between the pure metal and alloy. This textbook had given much information which was relevant to this coursework. 8/10
  • AS physics CD-ROM: I had achieved the diagrams mostly from the CD ROM, this CD had many diagrams which were useful, however this did not contain much written information which was useful and could aid me with this coursework. 6/10
  • Internet: I found that the information from these sources seemed very reliable and information I had gained, helped me understand the complex issues with the relation of physics to young’s modulus. I had obtained the various information I have included on the background information on the sensor from the following Internet sites:
  • http://www.emsl.com/tensile_strength.html
  • http://www.encyclopedia.com/html/Y/Youngsmo.asp
  • http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/permot3.html

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

This is a well structured and well written report.
1. There is a running commentary that needs to be removed.
2. There is information that is in the wrong section.
3. The evaluation needs to give ways to overcome problems with the methods and to suggest further research opportunities.

Marked by teacher Luke Smithen 05/09/2013

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