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To investigate how the length of a piece of wire affects its resistance.

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Resistance of a Wire


To investigate how the length of a piece of wire affects its resistance.


I predict that when the length of the wire is increased, the resistance will increase. I think this

because -

When a current flows through a piece of wire, a heating effect is caused by the resistance.

This is useful in appliances where heat is needed e.g. Kettles and Heaters.  In a piece of

wire the atoms are arranged in an order. One example is shown below.

The outer electrons are free to move about, and these form the current. The electrons move

randomly through the atoms, bouncing off them, losing energy. If the wire was made longer

there would be more atoms for the electrons to collide with, so they will lose more energy,

meaning the resistance is greater.

I also predict that the graph will be a straight line graph that looks like this -

I think this because, if you double the length of the wire, there would be twice as many

atoms for the electrons to collide with. This means they would lose twice as much energy,

...read more.


to the resistance, so when recording results we will disconnect the circuit as soon as they

have been taken to stop it heating too much.

We will keep the equipment the same and the wire will be measured by a meter stick to

ensure accuracy.


A Table to show how the resistance through a piece of

wire varies with length

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3  

Length /










...read more.


wires get hotter, the atoms vibrate more, so it is harder for the electrons to get, through and

they lose more energy, so the resistance increases. It could also have been because the wire

wasn’t measured correctly, for example if there was a twist in the wire that we didn’t notice,

which would increase the length. This means there would be more atoms for the electrons to

collide with so the resistance would increase.

The points are very tightly scattered, with only one or two points being off the line, and they

are still quite close, showing  that our results are reliable.

To improve this method and prevent errors we could use a water bath to keep the

temperature constant. The wire would be placed in the water bath and then tested.

To make sure the wire was accurate, new wire would have to be used, and made sure it

was flat. It would then be measured using a metre rule to measure to the centimetre.

Our results supported my conclusion and allowed me to make a firm conclusion. They were

reliable, close to the line of best fit and supported our preliminary work.

...read more.

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