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Resistance of a wire coursework

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Luke Ombler

Science Physics Investigation


In our investigation the aim was to find out how different factors changed the resistance of a wire, for example length, thickness or temperature. We used these factors to test whether the resistance would increase or decrease the resistance


Factors/Fair test

For working out the resistance due to with the factors that may cause a change in the resistance or, the gauge of the wire, at what length we measure the resistance form and also the temperate at what the wire is at. To keep this test fair the only variable that we will change is the gauge of the wire, as this is the thing that we are trying to find out about, we will not change the length as we know that resistance changes with length, so we must keep the length the same for all the tests on thickness. We also need to try to keep the temperature the same as this also affect the resistance, however this will be a bit tricky as when you run a current through a wire the wire heat up, therefore we will have to run the current for a very short amount of time so the wire does not heat. For the length the factors that may affect the resistance are the length of the wire, the thickness and the heat. To keep this a fair test we will only change the length of the wire, we will keep the gauge the same as the thickness affects the resistance of the wire.

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We repeated the experiment and this time we had a more resistant wire, we found that as we got close to 100ᴼc the resistance increased, this mean that when we did this experiment for real we knew we would have to find an alternative way of acquiring higher temperatures because we needed higher temperatures. Then we decided on using sand tray to heat the wire in, this is because they will heat to higher temperatures, this is because it allowed us to heat it to hotter than a Bunsen flame without evaporating. We also knew to start the experiment at 100ᴼc as that was where the resistance started to increase.

For the investigation for length and width, we used a 28, 36 gauge. We started with the 28 gauge and I measured the resistance from 40 to 160cm (every 10 cm). I repeated the experiment twice so we could eliminate any outliers, also this would allow us to work out a mean, and add range bars to our graphs. We then did the same for the 36 gauge, as well as repeating it twice. Then we worked out the resistance by using R=V/I, and the average of these results. We then used these results for a scatter graph, drawing a line of best fit showing marked outliers, and added range bars every 20cm.image01.jpg

For the temperature investigation we used a coil of wire, this was made from Nicrome. This is because it has a high resistance.

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In the investigation we repeated some of the experiments more than once; this allowed me to make my results more reliable. Also it allowed us to eliminate anomalies. I think that I should have taken more results because I still have anomalies in my results. However I did check if my results were correct by repeating each of the experiments more than once. When I did repeat the experiments the results I got were identical apart from the anomalies which some of them did not occur more than once. This proves that by repeating them it reduced the number of mistakes made. I also think that the range of results I collected was sufficient to give me answers for my prediction and conclusion.

If I had to use my results to as evidence to back up my conclusion then I would be very confident. This is because my evidence supported my prediction, and all of the evidence was clear and easy to show in many different ways, whether in a table, bar/line graph or in any other form of data representation. I believe that I could use my results as evidence because it clear, concise and is very easy to understand. Thing that I could do to improve my investigation would be to make sure that there was only one variable (one thing I was changing) and to ensure that all aspects of human error were eliminated before starting the experiments. One further experiment that I would do would be to use a wider range of material for the coil of wire to give me more evidence, such as how the material changes the resistance.

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