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Investigating the effects of length and type of wire on the resistance of the particular wire.

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Task: investigating the effects of length and type of wire on the resistance of the particular wire.


Resistance can be affected by many different factors, including temperature, thickness, type, and length.


Temperature increases resistance because if you heat up a particle it gains more energy and if you have a lot of rapidly moving and colliding particles it impedes the flow of electrons making it harder for the current to flow.

        Thickness: when you increase the thickness you increase the cross-sectional area of the wire

        The type of wire can affect what the resistance is. It depends on how well the type of wire conducts electricity and its density. The denser it is the higher the resistance.

Length will affect it greatly. For example a piece of wire 25cm long and a piece 50cm long will have completely different resistance. The resistance in the 50cm long wire will be double that of the resistance of the 25cm long wire. This is because the longer the wire the further it has to go and more particles it can collide with has increased.

In this experiment it will be hard to keep the temperature constant for the tests.

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Type                |

Volts    |

Current      |

Resistance |









Nickel chrome





From these results nickel chrome has the best resistance. This is what I predicted.  This is because when nickel and chrome combine. They have the properties of both metals which I think gives it a high resistance. From this I have decided to use nickel chrome because of the reason stated above.


For my final test I will vary the length of the wire from 25cm up to 125cm at 25cm gaps, and keep the thickness at 24a and the type of wire as nickel chrome.  In this way it will be as fair as I can make it. Although I cannot control the temperature that should not have a lot of effect on the results as all will be done in the same room at room temperature (20°c-21°c). I predict that  the longer the wire the higher the resistance will be, this is because the longer the wire is the further the electrons have to travel and the higher chance they have of colliding with particles in the wire.


  • Cut the correct length of wire and coil it
  • Attach the wire into the necessary position in the circuit
  • Turn power on, record results
  • Repeat for lengths, 25cm, 50cm, 75cm, 100cm.



  • AMP meter
  • Volt meter
  • Variable resistor
  • Battery pack
  • Wire, 24a, nickel chrome

Fair testing:  

  • I will put all non-essential equipment out of the way.
  • I will control all variables other than temperature.
  • I shall keep measurements the same.
  • I will carry out my experiment three times. This will help me see if I have any anomalous results.
  • I shall keep all my equipment the same.
  • I shall make sure the coil of wire stays coiled and is of correct length
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Over all I think that the experiment went well although there was one anomalous result, which may have been caused from inaccurate cutting of lengths, inaccurate machine (may have displayed results unclear or wrong) or maybe incorrect use of machine. Another thing that may have caused the anomalous result is that if the temperature was to suddenly got higher or lower. I think that the experiment we used suited what we were trying to get well as it delivered the results easily with out complicated procedures,  if I was to repeat the experiment then I would use more lengths , up to 3 metres,  and try to keep the temperature as controlled as possible. Or instead of increasing the length I could change the thickness or the type of wire, apply more voltage across the wire, these would all produce different results which could be used to determine the best length, thickness, type, voltage etc. If I was to change the voltage across the wire I could measure the resistance  by the temperature of the wire, when electrons pass through the wire they collide, the collisions create heat. Increasing the temperature gives the particles more energy so they will collide more, giving more resistance and more heat

  Physics coursework

                        Michael Keith

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