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PHYSICS EXPERIMENTS 133

7-1

Experiment 7

Temperature Dependence of Electrical Resistance


OBJECTIVE. To determine the temperaturedependence of the resistance of a metallic conductor and of a semiconductor. APPARATUS. Ring stand with insulated support, water bath with heating element, thermometer, stopper, metallic conductor assembly (wire wrapped on a cylinder), semiconductor assembly (a disk held by stiff wires), ammeter, and voltmeter. THEORY. Electrical resistivity for a material may be defined as = E/J, where E is the electric field in the material and J is the current density which E produces. J itself is given by J = nqv, here n is the number of conduction charges (each of charge q) per unit volume and with average (drift) velocity v. Thus the resistivity = E/nqv. In general, as E is increased the velocity v increases because the field accelerates the charges to a higher velocity before they collide with the atoms of the conductor. High resistivity of a given material results from a small value of n or a large likelihood of atomic collisions which reduces the velocity v reached for a given electric field E. a) METALS have many electrons (often one per atom) that are able to move freely as conduction charges at all temperatures; in other words, n is large and constant. Metals obey Ohms Law; this is equivalent to saying that (at a fixed temperature) as E increases the velocity v increases proportionately. However, variations in temperature change the ratio of E/v and thus the resistivity changes with temperature, assuming the value of n is unchanged. The change in v for a given E occurs because the probability that an electron will be slowed down by interactions with the thermal vibrations of the atoms of the metal increases with temperature, becoming proportional to the absolute temperature at higher temperatures. For this reason (and since for a wire of a given cross-section and length the resistance R is proportional to the resistivity ) the metal shows an approximately linear relationship between resistance and temperature which may be written as (1) Rt = R20 [1 + 20 (t - 20C)]

where Rt and R20 are the resistance values at temperatures tC and 20C, respectively, and is the temperature coefficient of resistance. Eq. 1 can be rewritten to yield: (2) 20 = (Rt - R20)/[R20 (t - 20C)] = 1 !R R2 0 ! t

for a reference temperature of 20C. Experimentally, a series of readings for t and the corresponding values of Rt are measured. When these values are plotted the resulting curve will be nearly straight. The slope of the line divided by R20 is the coefficient of resistivity, . b) SEMICONDUCTORS are materials such as the carbon in a carbon incandescent lamp filament, or germanium and silicon used in making transistors, or the thermistor to be used in this experiment. These materials have much higher resistivities than metals; they also have a different dependence of resistance on temperature and this reveals their fundamentally different nature. The resistance of these materials may become so high at very low temperatures that they can be used as insulators. This suggests that almost all of the electrons are bound to individual atoms or atomic bonds and are not free to conduct a current until they have been given an initial energy by heating or other means. Thus n may change rapidly with temperature if this initial energy is of the same order of magnitude as the average thermal energy kBT/2 per degree of freedom. Here kB is Boltzmanns constant (see your textbook) and T is the absolute temperature in Kelvin given by:

7-2 T(K) = t(C) + 273(C). The value of n in a semiconductor may change so rapidly with temperature that in comparison the change in the ratio E/v is quite small and unimportant. The Boltzmann equation gives the number n of electrons which will become conduction electrons by receiving an amount of energy U: (3) n = noe -U/kBT

PHYSICS EXPERIMENTS 133 of manganese, nickel and cobalt mixed in the desired proportions with a binder and pressed or extruded into shape. They are sintered under carefully controlled atmospheric and temperature conditions to produce a hard ceramic-like material. If natural logarithms are taken of both sides of equation (4) we obtain:
! R$ ! U$1 U & # ln # = #R & #k & &T - k T . " 0% " B% B 0 y= m x + b

(5)

where no is the maximum number of electrons which could take part in this process at very high temperatures and e is the base of natural logarithms. U is known as the band-gap energy of the semiconductor. This same exponential function of energy divided by kBT appears in many basic equations of physics, such as the law for the decrease of the earths atmospheric pressure with altitude, the Planck formula for the energy distribution in heat radiation, the MaxwellBoltzmann law for the distribution of the velocities of the molecules of a gas, the formula for the specific heat of a solid, and the equilibrium number of excited electrons in the energy levels of a laser. Since the resistance is inversely proportional to n we can expect the resistance of a semiconductor over a suitable temperature interval to be given approximately by an expression of the form (4)
! U U $ # & #k T - k T & B 0% " B

A plot of ln(R/R0) as a function of 1/T should give a straight line. Add columns to your data table for computed values of ln(R/R0) and 1/T. PROCEDURE. In order to measure the temperature dependence of the resistance of a sample we need to reliably measure its resistance. It is common in physics, engineering, and materials science to characterize the electrical properties of samples using an "I-V tester" arranged as in Fig. 1. The "I-V tester" can be considered everything to the left of the dashed line in the diagram below. A variable DC power supply is used to drive a current I through both a limiting resistor and the sample (to the right of the dashed line). Current I is measured by ammeter A while voltmeter V measures the potential difference (V) across the sample.
A

R = R 0e

where T0 is a reference temperature (say, 20C = 293 K) at which the resistance is R0. The thermistor or thermally sensitive resistor used in this experiment is made of material which requires an energy of roughly ten times the value of kBT at room temperature to remove an electron from an atomic bond and free it to conduct a current. As a result, e+U/kBT and thus the resistance will change rapidly with ordinary temperature changes; consequently the thermistor is very useful for such applications as temperature measurement and control, voltage regulation, safety and warning circuits, time-delay switches, flow metering and sequence switching. Thermistors are made of oxides

V I-V tester sample

Figure 1. The experiment is shown in Figure 2 below.

PHYSICS EXPERIMENTS 133

7-3 REPORT. a) Plot the resistance (vertical) vs. temperature t (horizontal) for the metallic conductor (copper in this experiment) choosing a suitable scale including 20C. Use the computer or a full sheet of graph paper with a horizontal scale from 0C to 80C. From the best straight line that you can draw through the data points read off the value of R20 (the resistance at t = 20C) and calculate the slope. Use the line you draw (not your data points) to determine the slope. Next calculate the temperature coefficient of resistance using Eq. 2, showing your calculation with the slope and R20 from your graph. Calculate the percent difference between your value and that given for copper at the end of this writeup. Comment on possible reasons for any differences. b) Plot the data for the thermistor as ln(R/R0) (vertical) vs. 1/T (horizontal) on a full sheet of graph paper. The slope of this graph is
! ln( R / R0 ) U = ! (1/ T ) kB

thermometer

stirring rod binding post

water

sample
Figure 2. 1. Fill the vessel with water to within 2 to 3 cm of the top and support it in the fiber ring on the tripod. Insert the thermometer in the 1-hole stopper and place it in the black bakelite cover support of the metallic-conductor unit. Insert the unit in the vessel, clamping it in place. Stir the water; when water and apparatus have come to thermal equilibrium (no change in temperature) read and record the following data: a) the temperature t to the nearest 0.1C, b) the current (I) through the sample of metallic conductor, c) the potential difference (V) across the sample. d) Calculate the resistance (R = V/I) of the sample. Use ice to start near 10 oC. Next, plug in the 115 V AC cord and heat the water so that its temperature is increased about 5 or so degrees. In each instance be sure that the temperature is constant during the measurement of Rt. To do this it will be necessary to turn off the heater one or two degrees before the desired temperature is reached, and then stir until maximum temperature is obtained. Record t and Rt as before. Go from 10 oC to about 60 oC. 2. Repeat PROCEDURE 1 for the semiconductor (thermistor unit) starting again with tap water as before.

Calculate this slope (do not forget units) and then calculate the value of U in electron volts which are common for materials science. c) Along with your conclusion include in your report answers to the following questions: What would be the ideal internal resistance of an ammeter? Why? What would be the ideal internal resistance of a voltmeter? Why? Why is it OK if the current is not the same for every temperature? Does the data plotted for the thermistor support the theory as represented by equation (4)? Explain. rev. 8/05 Possibly useful information: Cu, 20 =3.9x10-3 oC-1 kB = 1.38x10-23 J/K 1 eV = 1.6x10-19 J

7-4

PHYSICS EXPERIMENTS 133