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Resistance In a Piece of Wire.

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Resistance In a Piece of Wire

I am trying to find out how the length of a wire affects the amount of resistance found in the wire.

The equipment I will be using for this experiment is:

  • 12 volt battery pack
  • Volt Meter (Digital)
  • Ammeter (Digital 0-10)
  • Nichrome Wire (20cm, 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm, 45cm, 50cm)
  • Wires
  • Crocodile Clips

As listed above I will be using Nichrome wire, it has a diameter of 0.457mm. I will be using different lengths of 20cm, 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm, 45cm, 50cm. I will set up my circuit as shown above in the diagram. I will controls the amount of Amps flowing through my circuit with a 12-volt battery pack. The readings will be 0.2 amps, 0.4 amps, 0.6 amps, 0.8 amps and 1.0 Amps. When I have my ammeter reading at the desired one of these amounts I will record the voltage from the voltmeter. I will then record my results in a table. I will repeat this process with my other wire.

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I am using Nichrome wire for my experiment. This is an alloy, made of Nickel and Chrome. It is a conductor. In metallic conductors the atoms are not so tightly packed together. This allows the free electrons to move around a tiny bit.

The diagram above is showing these free electrons moving around when no potential difference is running through the wire. The free electrons just pass from atom to atom randomly. Although when the wire gains potential difference the free electrons are forced to flow the same way, i.e. the current. The diagram below shows this.

On the way through the wire some of the electrons get obstructed/blocked by the atoms. But the ‘push’ of the current still forces the electron forward. This is what causes the resistance in the wire.

The movement of the electrons through the conducting wire to a battery is the electrical current. This means the current is not ‘made’ in the battery, it is already in the wire. It is the flow of electrons already in the wire.

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Most of my results are reliable. They fit my line of best fit well. Apart from the one anomalous result as I have mentioned. As I said I will do this length of wire again to get a better result.

In order to get absolutely perfect results I would do my experiment again but put my lengths of Nichrome wire in a beaker of cold water while they are connected and I am doing the experiment. This makes sure the wire does not heat up as you conduct the experiment, as this heating up causes odd results. The wires stay at a constant temperature making sure your results are more accurate. I would set the experiment up as below.

Lloyd Emery

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