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Resistance in a wire.

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                    Physics Investigation

Resistance in a wire


Resistance to motion is an everyday experience, e.g. we are aware of the effort needed to move though water, or the need for an engine to keep a car moving, even when it is on a level road. But electrical resistance is different. Electrical resistance is when particles in a substance collide with and oppose, therefore slow down the flow of an electric current. Resistance occurs in all components of a circuit in which the current flows though.

The aim of this investigate is to investigate the resistance of different materials in the form circuit using the materials nichrome, copper, zinc and constant My experiment is to find out whether the length of the conductor, piece of wire, affects the resistance

In this experiment the factor to be investigated is the resistance of a wire in a circuit when the material of the wires is altered. This means that all other factors will stay the same or else this would not be a fair test. I am going to investigate how different material of wire affects the resistance in a circuit.

I am using a voltmeter and an ammeter to measure the current in the circuit after the material of wire is changed.

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  • We first took the apparatus and assembled them in the way as shown in the diagram
  • We were sure to use the power pack at 6 volts for each of the readings and to have the variable resistor on the same resistance for all of the readings to make it a fair test.
  • To get our results we had to first make sure that the two crocodile clips were holding the wire exactly 1 meter apart and then took the readings from both the Voltmeter and the Ammeter.
  • Next we changed the distance of the crocodile clips to 90cm and took the readings.
  • Then 80cm, 70cm, 60cm and so on until we got to 10cm giving us 10 different results for the wire each time making sure that the distance between the clips was as accurate as possible.
  • Once we had acquired all of our readings for one wire we progressed onto the next wire still making sure that the resistor and power were always at the same place.
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I have thought carefully about the experiment and have identified a few ways in which inaccuracies could have occurred. Firstly, human error could have meant an error in the setting up of the experiment. This could have adversely affected my results, but I made carefully made sure that all apparatus was set up correctly. Another possible way of producing distorted results could have arisen if the power pack had been left on after each reading. This would have caused over-heating in the wire, but is easily avoided by turning off the power after each reading. If the wire had coiled this would have caused a short circuit, but I stuck down the wire with tape along a metre ruler. Lastly, I think that if the cross-sectional area of the wire had been changed (maybe being scratched off whilst being handled) this would have affected the results and could be avoided by not over-handling or scratching the wire.

My conclusions are only true as long as all other factors, which could affect the resistance, are kept constant (for example, the temperature, wire area and other experiment conditions must be kept constant as a change in any one of these could affect the results).

To provide further evidence for my conclusion I propose that the experiment could be carried out again to provide a wider range of results to construct averages from. It could also possibly be carried out find the differences between lengths.

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