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To find the affect of resistance of a piece of Nichrome wire.

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Physics Electrical Resistance Coursework                 8163

Title        : Electrical Resistance

Aim        : To find the affect of resistance of a piece of Nichrome wire.          


I would assume that resistance occurs because the electrons travelling along the wire collide with the atoms of the wire. These collisions slow down the flow of electrons causing resistance. Resistance is a measure of how hard it is to move the electrons through the wire. The current is the flow of electrons; the current is dependent on the amount of voltage, which is applied. Voltage is the push given to the current. If the length of the Nichrome wire is increased then the resistance will also increase as the electrons will have a longer distance to travel and so more collisions will occur. Due to this the length increase will be proportional to the resistance increase. I assume this because the longer the wire the more atoms and so the more likely the electrons are going to collide with the atoms. The increase in length is the increase in resistance, because the increase in length, will increase the number of atoms resulting in the increase of collisions slowing the electrons down and increasing resistance.      


The resistance of any wire depends on its length. This makes sense if you consider that however hard it is for electricity to flow through 1 metre of the wire, it must be twice as hard to flow through 2 metres and 3 times as hard to flow through 3 metres etc. As long as everything else about the wire remains the same (material, thickness and

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The second crocodile clip is moved to the next position.  

The above steps were completed for each length (10, 20,40,60,80 and 100cm) and then the entire experiment is repeated for accuracy, this was done for both test A and B as shown in my results table

Safety Precautions      

There are not many safety precautions that need to be taken into consideration, in this experiment. The main three I can think of are stated below:

  1. Do not carry out the experiment in wet areas, as water is a very good conductor, and thus could be very dangerous.
  2. Make sure the wire is not connected for long periods of time. This makes the wire   hot and destroys equipment.
  3. Disconnect the wires should the ammeter reading go too high.

Results Table

The table below shows two test results (result A result B) for the different lengths of wire tested on the voltage and current. The two voltages were added up and then divided by two, to give the average voltage. The same method was produced to receive the average current.

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If I chose to measure the difference in the resistance in different materials I would chose a number of different materials and using the same voltage I would record the resistance given by each wire of the same length and width. Although once again it would be simple to record these results the graphs that could be drawn would not show any connection between the material and the resistance because of the limited number of materials I could test with the equipment available.

Wire width:

If the wires width is increased the resistance will decrease. This is because of the increase in the space for the electrons to travel through. Due to this increased space between the atoms there should be less collisions. If I were to choose this factor to measure the wire width I would use different widths of the same length and same material of wire e.g. thin, medium and thick copper wire with thin and thick constantan wire. To record the difference in widths I would use the same voltage and measure the resistance for each thickness. Although it would be easy to obtain and record the data the graphs that I would be able to draw up would not be interesting.

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