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investigating the factors that effect the resistance on a length of nichrome wire

Extracts from this document...


Niall Bradley 12L

An Investigation to find the factors which affect the resistance of a length of nichrome wire

Aim: To find out the effect of changing the length and or thickness of a piece of Nichrome wire on resistance.





Background Knowledge

There are four main factors that can affect the resistance; they are
length, this can affect it because the number of atoms is
different as the length changes making the rate of energy transfer
differ. Another factor is the
cross sectional area, this can affect it
as there is either less or more space as the area increases or
decreases for the atoms to collide with each other, furthermore the
material can affect it as each metal or substance have different
atoms and the atomic structure is different. Finally the
temperature can affect the resistance as the temperature increases the atoms energy increases giving it the power move faster whereas in colder conditions there is less energy and the opposite affect would take place, although temperature will be uncontrollable in the environment we will perform the experiment in. The other factors could be; Light, wire tension, gravity and magnetic influence.

Resistance is a force which opposes the flow of an electric current around a circuit so that energy is required to push the charged particles around the circuit.

...read more.














Calculating thickness of wire

I worked out the thickness of one wire by getting the thickness of 100 wires and then dividing that number by 100


Total thickness of 100 wires (coils) = 3.7cm

Thickness of 1 wire = thickness of 100 wires ÷ 100







Safety measures:

  • I made sure there is no water or liquid near my workstation as I am working with electricity.
  • I made sure my workstation is clear and organised.
  • I made sure that my schoolbag is under the desk and out of the way

List of apparatus:

  • Nichrome wire
  • Ohm meter
  • Power source
  • Crocodile clips
  • Circuit wires
  • Meter ruler

Direct Method and Fair testing

I set up a circuit that consisted of a length of nichrome which was the only variable (other than thickness), a power supply which only provided 2 volts for safety, an ammeter that measured the current in amps, a voltmeter that measured the voltage in volts and a variable resistor that broke down the voltage for safety. The length of
wire was measured carefully against a metre ruler and 50cm
measured. The investigation started with 10cm was
measured with a 30cm ruler. The 10cm of wire was placed between
two crocodile clips which connected to the circuit with
connecting wires. Each measurement was straightened and measured over in accurate steps to make the investigation as fair as possible. For each length the voltage and the current was noted.

...read more.


In each method the slope of the graph was measured by selecting a reference point and measuring the Rise over the RUN to determine the gradient of the slope. From this value it can be shown how the K-factor of the nichrome wire can be calculated from the analysis below and this value compared with a reference known value obtained from researching on the WEB or a Physics text book.image43.png



Working on the experiment has overall been an interesting and knowledgeable task. From obtaining the result that has matched my prediction, I can say that my background knowledge on the steps of the procedure was adequate. I am glad with how the experiment has been observed, studied and recorded for future use of physicists.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Electricity and Magnetism section.

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