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Resistance of a Wire

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Voltage (otherwise known as Potential Difference) is the push of current around the circuit. By current, we mean the amount of negative electrons that are pushed out of the negative poll of the battery and travel around the circuit to the opposite pole. However, it isn’t always as simple as that. The thin wire in a lamp tends to resist movement of the electrons in it. We say that the wire has a certain resistance to the current. The greater the resistance, the more voltage is needed to push a current through a wire. The resistance is calculated by …

Resistance, R=

Potential difference across the wire

Current through the wire

There are four main factors that affect resistance that come into effect, they are …

-        As the length of the wire increases, the resistance increases as it is a lot harder for the electrons to pass through the atoms in the wire due to it’s extended length.

-        As the cross-sectional area increases, the resistance decreases because the electrons now have more routes that they can take to get through. For example, bigger (fatter)

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It is easier for electrons to get through a thick piece of wire rather than a thin wire because there is more space and different routes that electrons can take to get to the other pole.

Material of the Wire

Electrons can flow more easily through some material more than others. These are called conductors. A good conductor such as copper is used in telephone lines to deliver internet and voice calls. Those materials that don’t allow electrons through easily are called resistors.

Temperature of Wire

As the electrons travel through the wire they give energy to the atoms of the wire, this makes the atoms of the wire move around more and vibrate more causing the temperature to rise, increasing resistance. When the atoms move around they make it harder for the electrons to get through, this is called resistance.


We’re going to investigate the effects of resistance in a circuit. I think that the longer and the thinner the wire is, the amount of

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My thoughts on the current-length relation are, “as you extend the length, the current slowly decreases” because the electrons have further to go have less space to do it in. This is resistance and this is explains why the current ‘slowly decreases’. This also applies for the amount of resistance once you lengthen your wire


I think our testing was fair due to the number of times we repeated the experiment. The only problems we encountered where that of the circuit temperature when we where testing which would of made an impact on our results. In a perfect world we would have had a circuit for each test to complete eliminate the effects of temperature.

I’d implement the change of more than one testing circuit to my method if I could change it. This with a combination of more test repetition would ensure extremely accurate results. If I had more time to look at resistance, I’d properly look at the effects resistance has over distance in circuits, to get a further idea about the effects of resistance on circuits

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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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