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Investigating to factors that affect the resistance of a metal conductor

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Investigating to factors that affect the resistance of a metal conductor

All metals offer some resistance to the flow of an electric current. Several factors affect the resistance:

  • Temperature
  • Length
  • Cross-section area
  • The metal or alloy the conductor is made of

This investigation looks at the effect of length.

Background Information

Why does resistance occur?

Resistance occurs because the electrons in the wire have to collide to pass on electrical current. When the electrons collide, they lose some of their kinetic energy.

What is resistance?

Resistance is an opposition to the flow of electrons. It is the potential difference divided by the current.

How is resistance measured?

Resistance is measured in ohms (Ω) using an ohmmeter (    Ω    ).

Ohms Law

Resistance is worked out using the following scientific model (Reference from Roger Muncaster’s A level Physics):



Ifρ and A are fixed by choosing one

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Potential Difference across wire, V (V)

Reading 1           Reading 2


Current, I (A)

Reading 1      Reading2
...read more.



There were no anomalies in this experiment. I think that there was enough evidence collected to support my conclusion. My results were repeated and the scatter on the graph is very small. This implies that the reliability of the evidence is very good.  If I could improve this experiment in any way, I would have used a greater length of wire and more readings, to 200cm maybe, and I would have repeated the experiment 3 times instead of 2. Also, it is important to minimise current in the circuit to reduce the effects of joule heating.

James Taylor 4N

...read more.

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