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What effects resistance through a wire?

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GCSE Science coursework- Nick Brooks 10 AM

What effects resistance through a wire?

Introduction- Resistance

Electricity passes through all the components of a series circuit, but the components are not all the same. Some of them allow current to pass easily, whereas others slow the current down. This is called resistance. The more a component resists the flow of electricity or electrons, the lower the current in the circuit will be. Resistance also exists in wires. There isn’t as much resistance in wires as components although there is a small amount. The measurement of resistivity is in Ohms. Ohms go by ‘Ohms law’ which has been explained below.

Ohms law

Physical principle stating that the electric current flowing through a metallic conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference between its ends, as long as the temperature stays the same. The law is named after the German physicist who discovered the relationship in 1827, Georg Ohm. The ratio of the potential difference to the current is called the resistance of the conductor, and is measured in ohms, symbol Ω. A potential difference of 10 V (volts) is needed to make a current of 2 A (amps) flow through a conductor with a resistance of 5 Ω. In symbols, V = IR, where V is potential difference, I is current, and R is the resistance.

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  1. Check wires for damage and use safe area.
  2. Connect up the circuit.
  3. Plug in power pack and switch on.
  4. Record results from voltmeter and ammeter.
  5. Repeat for different wire type, thickness and length
  6. Record results and work out resistance values.
  7. Draw graphs and evaluate experiment.


I think that with the wire length variation experiment, the greater the length, the more resistance there will be. I think this because, with a larger length of wire, it would take a longer period of time for the electrons to pass, meaning that more electrons will get caught up thus producing more resistance. In the varying of the thickness of wire, I predict that, the thinner the wire is, the more resistance there will be. I think this because, in a thinner wire, the electrons have a smaller area to pass through so when they rub against the inside of the wire. This produces a build up of heat, which causes a lot of friction. The friction slows the electrons down which causes a greater resistance. With the varying of wire types, I cannot back up any prediction other than the two resistivity values.

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Do my results match my predictions?

Yes, my results did match my predictions. I predicted that the thinner wire, the longer wire and the Nichrome wire all produced more resistance. The wire thickness experiment worked correctly and in conjunction with the ‘collision theory.’


As far as experiments go my results were fairly accurate. To get flawless results would be almost impossible as not all elements can be altered to obtain the optimum conditions. I could have got slightly better results but it would be a very small difference to the results I obtained.

The method that I used was the simplest and most accurate way to do the experiment. The only thing that may interfere with the results, is the resistance in the connecting wires, or electricity lost through the crocodile clips. Another thing that might have a small part in making the results impossible is that not exactly the same amount of voltage will come out of the circuit each time.

The only real improvement that I could make to the experiment is to repeat the experiment many times to get averages, which would gain more accurate results. Further experiments I could do to find out other things, which effect resistance through a wire, are to try other varieties of wires to find out what elements have the most resistance. Another experiment to also try is to experiment in different conditions and working environments to see what also effects resistance through a wire.  

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