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Science Coursework

Yr 11

How does the length of a wire affect its Resistance?

INTRODUCTION
Aim: In this project I will find out how the length of a wire affects its resistance, this will be done by measuring current and resistance in a Nichrome wire with varied lengths and the same voltage charge all the time. Scientific Background: To make it easier, I will explain now what Voltage, Current, and Resistance is, because there terms will be used a lot of times. Let us start off with Current: Current is simply the flow of charge through a conductor, the units used for current are amperes (A). Now current doesnt just move around the wire automatically to make energy, it needs a push, just like a trolley which needs a push to roll. The job of pushing the electrons in a wire is done by Voltage, which is the driving force that pushes current round. Its units are Volts (V). Voltage can come from a battery as an example. In a wire, we have atoms which will collide with some of the electrons which are going around in the wire, this colliding is called Resistance, a true definition will be: Anything in the circuit / wire which slows the flow down. Its units are ohms (). There is a method to find out current, resistance, and voltage in a wire, if you know any two of these values, but not the other one that you can find it with the Ohms Law method: So to make a current flow through a resistance there must be a voltage across that resistance. Ohm's Law shows the relationship between the voltage (V), current (I) and resistance (R). It can be written in three ways:

V=IR
where:

or

I=

V R

or

R=

V I

V = voltage in volts (V) I = current in amps (A) R = resistance in ohms ( )

Prediction: I think when I increase the length of a wire, then the resistance will increase. The reason why I believe this is because a longer wire will contain more atoms than a shorter wire, now a longer wire will have the same current at the 1

starting point like a shorter wire, but the amount of atoms are different in both wires. The longer wire with more atoms will have a high resistance, which means less current because atoms are colliding with the flow of energy / charge. When we decrease the length of the wire, there will be fewer atoms in that wire to collide with the current, resulting in a lower resistance than a longer wire, and a higher current than a longer wire. Diagram about Short and Long wire: Short wire e-> R R e-> e-> R e-> e-> Key R e-> e = Electrons -> = Direction of movement R = Atoms acting as Resistance

Long wire e-> R e-> R R R

R R e->

e-> e->

e-> R

R e->

So here you can easily see that a long wire has more atoms to collide with the electrons, so this will also cause the longer wire to have more resistance than the shorter wire.

Variables: I will change the length of the wire to see the difference between a short and a longer wire. In a longer wire the resistance should increase than in a shorter wire, the current should also decrease in longer wire. To see if the current decreases, I will have to use an Ammeter which will measure the current for me. I am also going to have to control the thickness of the wire, because a thicker wire will have more resistance than a thinner wire, I will show you this by this diagram below: Diagram about Thin and Thick wire:

Thin wire

e-> R R e->

e-> R

e-> e->

e-> Key

Thick wire

e-> R

R R e->

e-> e-> R

e = Electrons -> = Direction of movement R e-> R = Atoms acting as Resistance e-> R R e->

So here you can easily see that a thin wire has fewer atoms to collide with the electrons than a thicker wire, so this will also cause the thinner wire to have less resistance than the thicker wire.

Still continued on next page

In all my experiments, I will have to keep the type of wire the same (Nichrome wire); because different wires have different conductivity (some wires contain more atoms, whereas some dont). Temperature must have to be kept the same during all my experiments, if this is not the case, then I could get different results. When temperature is high, the atoms in my wire will vibrate more than a lower temperature, this will cause less current to flow through the wire. I will control the temperature by doing my experiments in the same room. Last but not least, I will keep my voltage the same, because if there is more voltage for a different experiment, the outcome will not be accurate. For example I have a 10 cm wire and I used 3.2 Voltage, my current outcome is 5 (just an example! No accurate results or calculations). Step two, I take a 20 cm wire and I use 6 voltage, my current outcome is still 5, while if I used 3.2 voltage, the outcome should have been 4; so that is why voltage has to be kept the same all the time. My voltage will be kept the same by using a Voltmeter. One of the most important things I need to keep the same is the lamp (component) I am using. That is because different lamps will use different amounts of voltage, and the results will not be accurate, it is just like keeping the voltage the same, otherwise there are different outcomes of current.

METHOD + DIAGRAM
Equipment list Wires 3

Nichrome wire Ruler Ammeter Voltage Power pack 2 Crocodile Clips V A

Circuit Diagram

Moveable Contact

Nichrome wire
Method (how I set the circuit up) Firstly I am going to connect the ammeter to the power pack by connecting the black wire to the negative ( - ) terminal, and the red wire to the positive ( + ) terminal. This will enable me to measure current across the ammeter. My second step will be using the crocodile clips, I will be adding another wire to the Negative ( - ) terminal to connect the ammeter to the Nichrome wire and the crocodile clips will keep the wires firm. I am going to connect an extra black wire to the negative ( - ) terminal of the Voltmeter. So the Voltmeter is in parallel with the Nichrome wire, which will allow me to calculate the current going through the wire. Finally I am going to connect a red wire with the positive ( + ) terminal of the Voltmeter to the positive ( + ) terminal of the power pack to measure the voltage across the circuit.

RESULTS TABLE

20

3.2

0.72

0.70

0.69

0.70

4.57

30

3.2

0.50

0.51

0.50

0.51

6.27

40

3.2

0.40

0.40

0.39

0.40

50

3.2

0.33

0.31

0.32

0.32

10

60

3.2

0.28

0.27

0.28

0.28

11.85

70

3.2

0.23

0.24

0.26

0.23

13.91

80

3.2

0.21

0.21

0.21

0.21

15.24

90

3.2

0.19

0.19

0.19

0.19

16.84

100

3.2

0.17

0.18

0.17

0.17

18.82

Remove page If the length of wire increases, current decreases

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CONCLUSION
During this experiment we were asked to find out if the length of a wire affects its resistance. From this experiment my results clearly show me that if I increase the length of a wire, the resistance will increase. This can also be seen on my graph. I also found out from my results that if I increase the Length of a wire, the current will decrease. This can be seen on my second graph, which shows a clear curve. Now all of this happens because if a wire is longer, it will contain more atoms than a shorter wire, the longer wire will have the same current at the starting point like a shorter wire, but the amount of atoms are different in both wires. A longer wire contains more atoms than a shorter wire because of more space; this results in a higher resistance for a longer wire, because current particles (electrons) collide with atoms which act as resistance. Current also decreases when the resistance is increased. So these results which I found out are matching my prediction. From this I can say that my prediction was accurate. For the short wire it will mean that there are less atoms inside which will block electrons. So there are more electrons going through the wire and there will be more energy instead of being lost. (You can go back to my prediction to see my easy understandable diagram)

EVALUATION
After all, I am confident with my results because the graphs show the line and the curve as I expected them to look like. The experiment has been very straightforward for me; the only thing that went wrong was getting the results faster. It took me too long to get my results, so next time for improvement and efficiency I should really plan my work.

I can say that my data is completely reliable, I had no outliers on my graphs, and the results came out as I expected them to be. My prediction has also been very accurate, as my graphs show clearly that the longer the wire, the more resistance, and less current. If I would do this experiment again I would make sure that I can make some improvements. I could improve my experiment with a bigger range of lengths for the Nichrome wire, so I can see if my graphs from before are giving good predictions. To be very accurate, I will also try to use different types of wires, different thickness, etc. This would give me a very big range of results.

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