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Investigating the factors affecting the resistance if a wire.

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Investigating the factors affecting the resistance if a wire

Possible factors


The material that we use could affect the resistance of a wire because density of the material will affect the electron flow. However there are only three choices of material available and they are Copper, Constantan and Nichrome.


With a thicker wire there will be more electrons, therefore there will be more to move around and consequently there will be less resistance. There is however only a limited range of thicknesses existent.


If the wire is straight, or if it is bent will affect the resistance. This cannot be done in equal steps and cannot be changed systematically.


If the temperature is increased then it will effect the movement of the ions, as they will move around more frequently. The ions would have more energy and would vibrate more, therefore causing more collisions and more resistance. The temperature is quite difficult to control and so would be a very difficult investigation.


If the wire is longer then the ions will have further to travel and more electrons will come into contact with the ions. The ions will lose more energy therefore there will be a greater resistance and less current around the circuit.

The variable that I have chosen to change for this investigation is length.

...read more.


100cm        Constantan        28swg           0.15                0.70        4.7

These results show that Nichrome will be the most suitable material to use. This is because Nichrome is the material that has given me the widest range ofresults.

I now need to find a suitable diameter of Nichrome to use.

Material Length        Diameter         Current         Voltage Resistance

                               (Amperes)(Volts) (Ohms)  

Nichrome 10cm        26swg                0.70         0.48          0.7

Nichrome 100cm        26swg                0.11         0.73          6.6

Nichrome 10cm        32swg                0.35         0.61          1.7

Nichrome 100cm        32swg                0.04         0.80          20

The diameter 32swg has given me the widest range of results. I am going to usethe material Nichrome and the diameter 32swg for my experiment.


Power pack

6 wires



Variable Resistor


Metre rule



·Firstly, using the equipment above, I will need to set up the circuit, as

shown below.

·Set the power pack to 2V.

·Connect one of the crocodile clips to 0 on the metre rule and connect the other at 10cm. Keep the slider on the variable resistor where it is. Read off the voltmeter and the ammeter and record results. Move the slider on the variable resistor along into position two. Read off the voltmeter and the ammeter and record results. Continue doing this until the slider has reached position 5 on the variable resistor and then repeat the process, only this time moving the crocodile clip up to 20cm, while the other remains at o. Continue up to 100cm.

Fair testing

...read more.


Further work

As I have already proved that an increase of length means an increase in resistance I could investigate another variable.

I could investigate the variable of thickness. With a thicker wire there will be more electrons, therefore there will be more to move around and consequently less resistance.


I would take the reading for the first thickness of the wire. Recording the current and voltage. This would enable me to discover the resistances.

Resistance = Voltage (Volts)

(Ohms)         Current (Amperes)

Next I would replace the wire with another wire of a different thickness. I would record the results as I had done in the previous experiment. I would probably take several readings to ensure my accuracy and I would use approximately 5 different thicknesses. I would then display my results in a line graph.

If given the time I could have extended the experiment on length. I could have investigated more of the lengths to see if the pattern continued, instead of stopping at 100cm.

There were not too many outrageously anomalous results and my prediction was correct. Overall I think that the investigation was a success.

...read more.

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