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Investigating The Resistance of Wire.

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The aim of my investigation is to find out how the resistance of a specific wire will change within a circuit by adjusting a particular variable. There are many variables, which would have an effect upon the resistance of a wire, the most obvious being the length of the wire. By cutting different lengths of wire I think that the resistance will adjust accordingly. The other variables that would affect the resistance of the wire are its temperature, thickness and the material from which the wire is made. Having said this I have decided to investigate the significance of the length of wire because I think that not only is it one of the more simpler variables, giving simple and accurate results but also it the factor which I think will have the most significant effect on the resistance of the wire. If I were to use the temperature as my variable I think it would become very impractical and difficult to get an adequate range of different temperatures to get good results. Having said this if I were to use the temperature of the wire as my variable I think that as the temperature of the wire increased so would the resistance ie the greater the temp the greater the resistance.

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Plan and Method


For this experiment we have been given a specific setup to use to test our hypothesi (see above). In order for the resistance to be tested we first of all need a power supply for which I will use the mains, however the mains is far to strong for this experiment and so will need to use a unit which can be connected to the mains which allows me to control the voltage. For this experiment the voltage will be constant at 4 volts. In order to take the readings I will need an ammeter, the wire and a voltmeter the ammeter and wire will be connected in series whilst the voltmeter will be connected in parallel. In order for the circuit to work t has to be complete and so the wire is connected by a terminal at each end which will hold it in place. This allows the complete length of the the wire to be connected. Once this was all set up we proceded with the actual experiment. This consisted of turning the mains on and adjusting the voltage to 4volts (which I was able to check by looking at the reading on the voltmeter) and taking the readings from the ammeter.

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In order to solve this problem I had to leave the wire to cool down between each reading by turning the mains off and then turning it on for a slight second to quickly take the readings. Another way of getting round this problem would be to lower the voltage being put in thus lowering the current, this would still give the same result ie the same resistance reading due to ohm’s law.

However if I were to be given the chance to redo the experiment there would be certain things which I would change. The first thing that I would change would be the connection terminal which connected the wire to the circuit. The problem was that there were nearly always different amounts of wire sticking out the other end of the terminal, therefore varying the proper lengths of wire and so compromising the accuracy of the results.

I would also find it interesting to look further into the investigation by looking at the effect of some of the other variables. By this I mean that I would like to look at the effect of the diameter of the wire and the thickness.

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