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

IB Physics Lab - Resistance

Extracts from this document...



Lab Template

On the following pages are a lab template designed for you to organize your lab reports.  The last page includes the marking rubric for how you will be assessed.

Here is a quick checklist you should follow for each lab:

  • Erase all of the template instructions given, remove bullets and italics unless instructed otherwise
  • Write in full sentences, with scientific accuracy.  Avoid colloquialisms.
  • Include all data points, labeled with units and uncertainties
  • Copy and paste graphs from Excel  
  • Graphs must be labeled with axes, units, and title, and error bars
  • All sections of the lab must be completed
  • Save your labs digitally, and keep in an organized folder  


Course:  DP Physics


Date:  09/13/09

Series and Parallel Circuits


  • This lab pertains to testing different resistors in series and parallel and calculating the total resistance, which allows one to see the relationship between the experimental resistance and the experimental resistance.  Resistors are used in everyday life.  For example, they are used in electronic equipment to limit the current that flows in them.    
  • There are two main types of electrical circuits:  series and parallel.  In series circuits there is only one way for the current to flow, but in parallel circuits the current has multiple paths.  
  • There are two formulas that are used in this lab:  image04.png
  • 1)  Equivalent resistance in series circuits =
  • In series circuits, the equivalent resistance (total resistance) is determined by simply adding all the resistors in that circuit.

      2)  Equivalent resistance in parallel circuits =

  • In parallel circuits, the equivalent resistance is determined by adding the reciprocals of each resistor and then taking the reciprocal of the sum.image05.png


  • The objective of this lab is to determine how the equivalent resistance of a collection of resistors in series or parallel depends on the individual resistors.


  • I believe that the theoretical equivalent resistance of a series circuit and a parallel circuit will always be slightly more than the experimental equivalent resistance.
  • I also believe that when more resistors are added in a circuit, either series or parallel, the percent error will increase.  


  • Resistors
  • Breadboard
  • Multimeter


1.   First, we obtained several different resistors, a breadboard, and a multimeter.

2.  Then we made 5 different series circuits with different combinations of resistors.

3.  Then we calculated the theoretical resistance of each of them and measured the actual resistance using the multimeter.  

4.  Then we repeated steps 2 and 3 but with parallel circuits.    

Data Points


...read more.



220Ω (x1)

470Ω (x1)


220Ω (x1)




470Ω (x2)






Percent Error


1KΩ (x1)




150Ω (x2)


1KΩ (x1)




220Ω (x2)

2KΩ (x1)


220Ω (x2)




470Ω (x1)


220Ω (x1)




470Ω (x1)

150Ω (x1)

2kΩ (x1)

...read more.


  • The two formulas that were used in this lab and stated in the introduction proved Ohm’s law effective, as the resistance formulas are based on Ohm’s law.  
  • My initial hypotheses were proven correct as they were that the theoretical equivalent resistance of a series circuit and a parallel circuit will always be slightly more than the experimental equivalent resistance and that when more resistors are added in a circuit, both in series and in parallel, the percent error will increase.  This all can be clearly seen on the data tables.  


  • This is the type of experiment that’s very valid.  This is due to the fact that the properties of electricity are constant and that we used precise measuring equipment.    
  • This experiment virtually doesn’t need any improvements or changes as it achieves it purpose in a quick, efficient way.
  • In my opinion, a good further assignment would be to research certain electronically appliances or devices and figure out the resistance of each of them, and find out why that specific resistance is applied to that appliance/device.  

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics 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 International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. IB Specific Heat Capacity Lab

    � 1156.25 = 11.14 % � 1156.25 = � 128.81 J Heat absorbed by Calorimeter (HC) Mc � Cc � ?T = 41.35 � 0.385 � 4.50 = 71.64 J = [((0.01 � 41.35) � 100) + 11.11 %] � 71.64 = 11.13 % � 71.64 = � 7.98 J Heat lost by Bob (HB)

  2. Design Lab, Charge on Balloons

    If one balloon is rubbed more than the other, it will obviously conduct more charge on it and hence defeating the purpose.

  1. THermal Physics Lab

    To control this, use a thermometer and check the temperature and make sure it's the same. The apparatus should be the same such as plastic troughs should be used for both liquids, and the thermometer etc. Another thing is the same time at which every temperature is measured.

  2. Pendulum Lab

    Time measurement device- To increase the accuracy and diminish the significance of human error in counting, a stopwatch was used to keep track of the duration of the pendulum's period.

  1. Investigating resistors

    Turn power supply on and find potential difference and current 3. Record results in table 4. Add second resistor in series with the first. Measure the current and total potential difference and compare the results 5. Then 3rd resistor in series with the first two 6.

  2. HL Physics Revision Notes

    The molecules vibrate about a fixed position. The higher the temperature the greater the vibrations. Liquids: Fixed volume but shape can change. Molecules are vibrating but not completely fixed in position, still strong forces between molecules. Gases: Not fixed volume or shape, will expand to fill the container.

  1. Rocket Physics Lab

    Secure the meter stick and launcher with the plastic bottle section placed parallel to the ground. Secure tape measure from directly below the top of the launcher and spread it out straight with respect to the launcher. Measure twenty centimetres away from the plastic bottle and place a marking.

  2. How does the sinkage depth of a tyre affect its rolling resistance ?

    When we talk about the rolling resistance the tire faces on sand , it is important to remember that sand is a loose surface and the tire has the ability to sink in the sand . If a tire sinks in more than its usual sinkage depth .

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