• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To investigate the factors affecting the resistance of a piece of wire.

Extracts from this document...


Natasha Brilliant

Investigation into the Factor(s) that Affect the Resistance of a Piece of Wire

The purpose of this investigation is to investigate the factors affecting the resistance of a piece of wire.  In order to investigate these factors I will need to carry out a series of experiments.  I will also need to research some background information using secondary sources.  I will then need to consider the equipment that I will use and the number of readings I will take for each experiment.  I will need to finally try to ensure that my results are as reliable and precise as possible while considering the safety aspect of my experiments.

Electrical resistance is a quantity which measures the amount of opposition a circuit or individual component provides to the electric current (charges) trying to flow.  The amount of resistance in an electrical circuit determines the amount of current flowing for any given voltage applied to the circuit.

The unit of resistance is the ohm, discovered by the German physicist, Georg Ohm.  One ohm is the amount of resistance that limits the current to one ampere when one volt is applied to it.

...read more.



Some wires have more useful properties than others do.  An example of this is constantan wire which is an alloy of copper and nickel and whose resistance is unaffected by temperature.  image00.png


  1. Temperature

Temperature will affect resistance I think (except in the case of the constantan wire – see ‘Type of Wire’ above) because as the wire heats up, the electrons will gain kinetic energy and start to vibrate.  This will make it harder for them to ‘travel’ along the wire making the resistance higher.  During my experiments I may find that I have to pause so that they wire can cool down so that it doesn’t affect the resistance too much.       image03.pngimage02.png

For my investigation, I am going to investigate two of the above factors thoroughly so that I may come to a conclusion about what affects the resistance of a piece of wire.  I have chosen to investigate the length of the wire and the cross sectional area of the wire.

In my investigation, I am going to use two different methods to investigate each factor.  In order to investigate

...read more.


Current =   Voltage  _        or        I = V

                                    Resistance                      R

 Rearranged it gives us:

                        Resistance = Voltage        or        R = V

                                         Current                        I

Preliminary Experiments

Before I conduct my experiments, I needed to do some preliminary work to determine which wires I am going to use.  I had six options to choose from:

Constantan or Nichrome wire in the any of the following thickness:

   0.28 mm or

    0.40 mm or

0.56 mm

I did a similar experiment for length as detailed above for all six wires but I only took five readings (at every 10 cm) because I do not need such detailed results.  I did not repeat the experiment.  I then chose the thickness that offers the biggest range of readings, as it will be clearer to analyse my results if they are not too similar.  Overleaf are my results.

The graph clearly shows that the Nichrome wire with a 0.28mm cross sectional area has the biggest range (2.3 Ω to 9.9 Ω giving a range of 7.6 Ω).  I will therefore use this wire in my length experiments.  However, if time permits, I will test as many of the six wires as possible meaning that I will have more results to compare and analyse.  

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Electricity and Magnetism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Electricity and Magnetism essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The factors affecting the resistance of a metalic conductor.

    4 star(s)

    Some metals are just more electrically conductive than others. This however, is considered an internal factor rather than an external one. The resistivity is a value that only depends on the material being used. For example, gold would have a lower value than lead or zinc, because it is a better conductor than they are as it has more free electrons flowing within it thus has a lower resistance.

  2. Discover the factors affecting resistance in a conductor.

    If the current flowing through a conductor is I when the voltage across is V, the resistance R is defined by: R = V I Or: the resistance is equal to: p.d. across a wire Current flowing through a wire Finding the resistance using the current and potential difference is known as the ammeter-voltmeter method.

  1. The aim of this investigation is to investigate the factors affecting the resistance of ...

    Variable resistors are used in electronics (and are then called potentiometers) as volume and other controls. Larger current versions are useful in laboratory experiments. Constantan wire is an alloy of 60% of copper and 40% of nickel. In the laboratory the constantan wire is wound on a tube with a sliding contact on a metal bar above the tube.

  2. An investigation into the factors affecting the resistance of a wire.

    The electrons would have to travel double to distance they would have to go through a 10cm wire. This would in turn double the amount of atoms that the electrons would collide with and then resistance would double. Furthermore, my preliminary test backs up my prediction because it illustrates that resistance increased with length.

  1. To investigate how the length (mm) and the cross-sectional (mm2) area of a wire ...

    should be able to establish a complete relationship between the length and the resistance. Of course, I will repeat the graph twice more for the other two cross-sectional areas and using these graphs, I will attempt to link the relationships together, of both length and cross-sectional area.

  2. Factors affecting Resistance of a wire

    We will not leave the power pack on for a long period of time as this may lead to a rise in temperature which will make the resistance rise un-proportional to the length as we predicted. This experiment requires safety considerations.

  1. Investigate one or more factors affecting the resistance of metal wires

    will be a straight line through the origin. Health and Safety Precautions In order to prevent any accidents to both me and the other students, or any damage to the equipment, I will have to do the following: * I will not use Mains electricity to conduct this experiment since it is very dangerous.

  2. Investigating the factors affecting the resistance in a wire

    We would measure the diameter of the wire in Standard Wire Gauge (SWG). The choice of material also has an effect on its resistance. This is because different materials have different densities and higher density materials will block more electrons.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work