Resistance of a wire

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What effects the resistance of a wire?

We are going to conduct an experiment to find out the resistance of a wire by changing some variables.

These include

Length of wire

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Material used for wire

Gauge of wire

While we conduct the experiment to find out which if any of these variables affects the resistance of wire, we will have to keep some things the same to make the tests valid. The things we wont differ will be, the same equipment (because some of the power packs may give out more voltage than another), the current which will be 0.5A (to stop the wire heating and therefore the resistance would change), and for the same reason we wont change the temperature.

Once the experiment is set up it will look like this.


I predict that the longer i make the piece of wire, the higher the resistance will be, because the free electrons will have more metal ions to collide with, so less of them will diffuse at the end of the wire.

I think the wire will heat up if we do it at to high a current so we are going to keep it at 0.5A thus keeping the tests fair and allowing us to proceed with the experiment.

Which Variable will we change?

We have decided to change the length of wire as this is a continuous variable and will give us the most accurate result over any other variable.

Step-by-step method

1. To begin with, i will set up my apparatus for the experiment as shown on the first page

. I will then get my results table ready for being filled in, which will include voltage, current, length and resistance.

. I will keep the current at 0.5A by using the variable resistor already in the circuit to make sure the test stays fair. If i didnt then the wire would heat up causing the resistance to be greater or less.

4. I will carry out the experiment three times per length to make sure there are no anomalies.

5. Each time we do experiment we will increase the length of the wire by 10cm begining at 10cm and continuing up to the length of 100cm. As i increase the length of wire the resistance will also rise. I can figure out the resistance by using the formula W=V/I and make a note of it in my results.



I made an average of our three results to make it easier to plot on the graph. there was only one anomaly which was in the form of 0.8 in the very first test at 10cm, i discarded this from the average.


My prediction of the longer the wire got the more resistance there is was correct. You can clearly see on the graph that for every 10cms longer the wire got there was 5W more resistance.


The resistance increased as the length of wire was increased is because there was a great amount of metal ions for the electrons to collide with, making it more if a struggle for the free electrons to diffuse, creating more resistance. This was just what i predicted, and because i kept the temperature and the current the same it cause my graph to look like this

However, i didnt think before hand about the affect of the free electrons hitting each other causing the resistance to rise still. Although this wasnt of big significance it still effected my results.

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