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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What affects the resistance of a wire?

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Investigation (GCSE coursework)


What affects the resistance of a wire?


I am going to find out what affects the resistance of a wire.


To calculate the resistance I have to do FORMULAE 1 voltage divided by the current; V/I.


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FORMULAE electrical resistivity = (electrical resistance × cross-sectional area) ÷ longitudinal length.


Apparatus


Power supply


1 metre rule (in cm)


Voltmeter- 0 to 5 volts, 10 divisions every volt.


Ammeter- 0 to 1 amp, 0.05 amps.


Heatproof mat.


Variable resistor.


Length of wire (m)


Variables


Temperature might affect the resistance of a wire.


Thickness might affect the resistance of a wire.


Length might affect the resistance of a wire.


Density might affect the resistance of a wire.


What the wire is made out of might affect the resistance of a wire. (Material)


These are the following variables that may affect the resistance of a wire. The variable I am going to choose is how the length affects the resistance of a wire.


To keep the current constant at one amp, as the length of the conductor is increased the voltage is increased as shown in the table (0 to 1 volts).


Prediction


I predict that as the length of the wire increases, the resistance will increase.


If the wire is longer then the electrons will move slower because they will bump into more atoms, which means the current will decrease and the resistance will increase. The electrical resistance equals the electrical resistivity × the longitudinal length ÷ cross sectional area. The electrical resistivity is related to the type of metal the conductor is made of. The formula also shows the longer the conductor the higher the resistance of the conductor. The thinner the conductor the higher the resistance.


I must make sure that the temperature, material (same wire) and thickness is kept constant. I will keep the material and cross section constant by using the same wire throughout. I will assume that the temperature of the wire is constant at room temperature by keeping the current very low by adding a variable resistor. I am assuming that temperatures between 0° and 100° will not affect the resistance.


Risk Assessment


Make sure that before switching on the apparatus the circuit is connected properly.


I want to keep the current low so it doesn’t heat up, therefore it won’t burn me and the temperature will remain at approximately room temperature. To stop objects from getting burnt I can also use a heatproof mat.


I will take voltage and current reading three times and writes down an average.


I have suggested that as the length of the wire increases the resistance goes up. I expect to get the results as shown in the table and graph below.








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