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The aim of this experiment is to investigate the property of resistance in metals and to show how different metals have different amounts of resistance (the force that opposes the flow of an electrical current).

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   The aim of this experiment is to investigate the property of resistance in metals and to show how different metals have different amounts of resistance (the force that opposes the flow of an electrical current).

   We aim to prove that each metal wire (Nickelrone and Constantine) will give off its own amount of resistance

   And we also aim to prove that the amount of resistance will change when the wires are lengthened or shortened.

   I predict that as the length of the wire gets longer, the amount of resistance will increase.


What is electricity?

Electricity is the flow of electrons through a conductor.

   Metals have a metal atom nucli surrounded by a sea of electrons. Metals can conduct electricity because the electrons are not trapped going around the nuclucs.

Metal atoms joined together:

Flow of electrons:

Push in 3                                                                       3       pushed

                                                                        Out the other end

What is resistance?

Resistance is the property of any object or substance that resists or opposes the flow of an electrical current. The amount of resistance determines the amount of current flowing through the wire at any given voltage.

Its is very easy to work out the resistance, voltage or the current by using this simple diagram:


I     R

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superconductors and below a certain temperature they have absolutely no resistance to a current, because of this no energy is lost and the current can flow forever.

Superconductors have a special, unique propriety known as ‘Superconductivity’ this is a natural phenomenon in certain conductors that have no resistance to the flow of an electric current.

   Superconductors also exhibit strong diamagnetism (which means that they are repelled by magnetic fields.) Superconductivity is created only below a certain critical temperature and a certain critical magnetic field, which varies with the material used.

Who is ohm?

   Georg Simon Ohm was a German physicist and is famous for his research on electrical currents. He was born in Erlangen in 1787 and died in 1854.

   Between 1833 till 1849 he was director of the Polytechnic institute of Nuremberg. Then from 1852 until his death he became the Professor of Experimental Physics at the university of Munich.

   He created a formula which explained the relationship between current, electromotive force, and resistance, which is known as Ohm’s law, and is considered the basic law of current flow.

   Because of this, the unit of electrical resistance was named the ‘Ohm’ in his honour.



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   Although this experiment was successful in showing us that resistance increases as the length of the wire’s increases, it still wasn’t completely accurate in its results.

   The amount of resistance measured from the wires didn’t rise as smoothly as it should have if the experiment was properly controlled and the apparatus we used was properly maintained and of a higher quality.

   These factors could have led to us not getting the highest quality results possible:

  • The low quality of apparatus (the amp meter, volt meter, etc…)
  • Inaccurate measurements. eg. the length of the wire, the reading from the amp/volt meters, etc…
  • Human error.
  • Improper handling of the wire. For example if the wire becomes bent or creased it can cause more resistance.
  • The low sensitivity of the amp meter.
  • The wires may not have been of exactly the same diameter.

   I think that we could have furthered our experiment and received better, more reliable results if we made some improvements to the way our investigation was carried out.

   We could do this by:

  • Using equipment of a higher quality.
  • Making sure that wires are not only the same length, but also of the same diameter and hopefully of the same volume.
  • Using more sensitive measurements.

Michael Bull 10B/10W2S

Science Coursework

...read more.

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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