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# Physics coursework on Resistance

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

WHAT AFFECTS THE RESISTANCE OF A WIRE?

Planning

What are you going to do?

There are four main factors that affect the resistance of a wire:-

• The material
• The length
• The thickness
• The temperature

For my physics coursework, I have chosen to investigate how the thickness of a wire affects its resistance.

What apparatus will you use?

How will you do your experiment?

The method I will use is as follows:-

• I will set up the experiment as shown in the diagram
• I will put in a thick wire first.
• I will list down the current and the voltage shown on the ammeter and voltmeter
• I will then calculate the resistance by using the formula R=V/I
• I will get another two readings from the same wire to make sure that it is correct. I will then calculate an average resistance for the wire.
• I will repeat these steps with different thicknesses of wires.

To make this experiment a fair test, I will use the same apparatus each time (the voltmeter, ammeter and power pack). Also, because I am testing the thickness of a wire, I will keep the material, length and temperature of the wire constant to ensure a fair test.

I will measure six different wires. The thicknesses of those will be 22, 24, 26, 30, 32, and 36 SWG.

Middle

32

100

4.0

0.22

18.18

Constantan

28

50

2.5

1.20

2.08

Constantan

28

100

3.0

0.68

4.41

Constantan

32

50

5.0

1.20

4.17

Constantan

32

100

5.5

0.70

7.86

After looking at these results, I have decided to use nichrome for the material as it didn’t get hot during the experiment. I have chosen it for this reason because I need the temperatures to stay roughly the same and not get too high otherwise this will affect the results. I have also decided to keep the length of the wires at one metre because it is easier to measure them with a metre ruler. My preliminary experiment has affected my planning because it has helped me to decide what material and length of the wires I should use. Also, when I come to do my actual experiment, it will be much quicker and easier for me to do because I know how to set it up and this will save time for me.

Obtaining

I have placed all me results and repeats into one table and I worked out the averages.  I have measured the diameter of each wire using a micrometer. I measured each wire with this instrument three times and calculated the averages.

The results table is on the next page.

Analysis

What does your results table tell you?

My results table tells me that as the thickness of a wire increases, the resistance decreases. Similarly, as the thickness of the wire decreases, the resistance increases.

Conclusion

What other factors could you investigate to provide additional evidence for your conclusion?

I cannot think of another way to test the thickness factor, but I could test other factors for my conclusion. For instance, I could test how the length, material and temperature affect the resistance in a wire.

For the length, I could cut out a range of different lengths of wires, for example 20cm, 40cm, 60cm, 80cm and 1metre.  I would keep the other variables constant though. I could then test the resistance in each wire and use the same method as I did for this experiment.

For the material, I could use a range of different materials including nichrome and constantan. I could then see how this will affect the resistance.

For the temperature, I could set the wires at different temperatures and record the resistances. I could compare them and see how this affects the resistance. This will be quite difficult to do though because it is quite hard to set the wires at specific temperatures and keep them there while I take down the readings.

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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