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Electrical Resistance is the force which opposes the flowing current.

In a thin piece of
wire there is a higher resistance. This is because the flowing current has less space to
move around the opposing force.
A way of explaining this is to imagine a busy corridor in a school, the flow of people
would be a steady rate, until you reach a door where lots of people are trying to get
through. This is the opposing force which slows down the flowing current causing
heat in some cases.
The resistance is measured in Ohms and the symbol for Ohms is Ω, to work out
resistance in a circuit you must divide voltage by current.
Ohms law rules how resistance is worked out. His rule is that voltage is proportional
to current, providing that the temperature stays the same. This is why we divide
voltage by current to get resistance.
In my class we have been studying P5 it is all about resistance and about the four
factors, Length, thickness, Material and temperature.
We then went into some more detailed work about these factors; we chose to
investigate how the length of a piece of string would affect resistance.
We started our investigation by looking at what equipment we would need.

This is the advance way of setting up the investigation because it involves using both
and ammeter and a voltmeter. This way you have to divide the voltage by the current
to calculate the resistance.
I made sure the equipment was set up correctly by switching one of the multi-meter to
amps and the other to voltage. To get a more precise result I change both multi-meters
to 2dp. This Is an example on how I set up the multi-meters.

To Battery

To wire
Using 2 decimal places was a wise choice; it made my results more precise. This
would make my resistance more accurate at the end of the Investigation. Also by
choosing to do the investigation with both amp and voltmeters made it more accurate
than choosing to measure the resistance using the multi-meter.
Before my actual investigation I carried out some preliminary work but first I had to
think about the different variables I have in my investigation. My preliminary work
would be to find how the thickness of wire would change the resistance.
My independent variable was the length of the wire which I measured in mm. My
dependant variables which I kept constant, where the equipment I used and the length
of the thickness I chose. I also decided to keep the battery at 3volts.
My preliminary work on how the thickness of wires also showed me how I should set
out the range of results.

E.g. Of results.

Thickness Resistance 1 Resistance 2 Resistance 3

30 gauge 0.9 0.87 1
32 gauge 1.3 1.29 1.4
36 gauge 1.3 1.8 1.82
38 gauge 2.1 2.0 2.1
42 gauge 2.4 2.4 2.3
46 gauge 2.7 2.65 2.8

I over ruled outliers, so I could ignore them when I calculated the average resistance.

From this I decided that my table was going to look like this;

Length Current Voltage Resistance

I1 I2 I3 V1 V2 V3 R1 R2 R3
My final decisions before doing the proper investigation where to decide how I was to
make my results precise and how to make my investigation a fair test.
To make the results more precise I set the apparatus to 2 decimal places. This ensured
my results where precise when I worked out the final resistance at the end of the
investigation. By performing the investigation with both amp and volt meters I got a
more accurate resistance.
I decided that I was to measure the nichrome wire in mm, and not cm, as this was my
independent variable and I needed to keep it precise. I decided to use the thinnest wire
available been 36gauge. I did this because there is more resistance in a thinner piece
of wire therefore giving me more accurate results with higher readings of resistance.
These techniques allowed me to find the outliers more accurately which I ignored
when working out my final results. By putting all my data into a spread sheet on excel
my data was more accurate because I could put all the decimal places into it and get
the spreadsheet to work out a more accurate resistance.
To make my investigation a fair test certain factors where kept the same.
I used the same piece of wire throughout the whole investigation and I even used the
same equipment throughout the investigation and kept it in a safe place while not
using it. I also made sure the battery was always set to 3 volts, always through out the
investigation. The dependant variable was the resistance as I couldn’t control how that
was produced. To ensure that this investigation was a fair test I also controlled the
heat, because when you shortened the wire it heated up and turned orange. So to stop
this from happening after I got the result I turned of the battery so that the wire could
cool down.
I also believe that my preliminary work helped me to control a fair test in my final
investigation because I had experience from my preliminary work on how to keep my
conditions controlled.

voltage Current resistant

1000mm 3.18 3.16 3.17 0.09 0.09 0.09 35.33333 35.11111 35.22222
900mm 3.12 3.15 3.16 0.18 0.1 0.09 17.33333 31.5 35.11111
800mm 3.14 3.22 3.2 0.12 0.12 0.14 26.16667 26.83333 22.85714
700mm 3.24 3.22 3.21 0.12 0.12 0.12 27 26.83333 26.75
600mm 3.17 3.18 3.17 0.14 0.14 0.14 22.64286 22.71429 22.64286
500mm 3.15 3.14 3.14 0.16 0.16 0.16 19.6875 19.625 19.625
400mm 3.08 3.11 3.1 0.2 0.2 0.19 15.4 15.55 16.31579
300mm 2.99 3 3.02 0.25 0.25 0.24 11.96 12 12.58333
200mm 2.91 2.92 2.85 0.33 0.36 0.39 8.818182 8.111111 7.307692
100mm 2.52 2.55 2.36 0.6 0.59 0.59 4.2 4.322034 4

(mm) Average Key
1000mm 82.18519
900mm 43.2037 = Outlier
800mm 35.11111
700mm 62.75
600mm 52.90476
500mm 45.85417
400mm 36.3886
300mm 28.15444
200mm 19.36519
100mm 9.855367

This is my first set of results, I made sure that I highlighted any outliers and ignored
them when I produced my resistance.

Average Resistance in a length of wire (mm)

Key ,yellow line = Line of best fit


Resistance (ohms)





1000mm 900mm 800mm 700mm 600mm 500mm 400mm 300mm 200mm 100mm
Length (mm)
Resistance in a length of wire
Resistance in a length of wire
voltage Current resistant
Length voltage Current resistant
1000mm 3.16 3.15 3.14 0.08 0.07 0.07 39.5 45 44.85714
900mm 3.15
3.09 3.15
3.07 3.14
3.09 0.08
0.1 0.08
0.09 0.08
0.1 39.375
30.9 39.375
34.11111 39.25
800mm 3.09
3.16 3.07
3.14 3.09
3.17 0.1
0.12 0.09
0.11 0.1
0.12 30.9
26.33333333 34.11111
28.54545 30.9
700mm 3.16
3.15 3.14
3.14 3.17
3.17 0.12
0.15 0.11
0.14 0.12
0.14 26.33333333
21 28.54545
22.42857 26.41667
600mm 3.27
3.15 3.27
3.15 3.26
3.15 0.13
0.13 0.13
0.13 0.13
0.13 25.15384615
24.23076923 25.15385
24.23077 25.07692
500mm 3.14
3.16 3.13
3.15 3.16
3.14 0.13
0.17 0.11
0.19 0.1
0.16 24.15384615
18.58823529 28.45455
16.57895 31.6
400mm 3.16
3.09 3.15
3.09 3.14
3.07 0.17
0.21 0.19
0.23 0.16
0.19 18.58823529
14.71428571 16.57895
13.43478 19.625
300mm 3.09
2.98 3.09
2.96 3.07
2.97 0.21
0.24 0.23
0.25 0.19
0.22 14.71428571
12.41666667 13.43478
11.84 16.15789
200mm 2.98
2.9 2.96
2.95 2.97
2.93 0.24
0.33 0.25
0.34 0.22
0.33 12.41666667
8.787878788 11.84
8.676471 13.5
100mm 2.92
2.53 2.95
2.52 2.94
2.52 0.33
0.59 0.34
0.56 0.33
0.57 8.848484848
4.288135593 8.676471
4.5 8.909091
100mm 2.53 2.52 2.52 0.59 0.56 0.57 4.288135593 4.5 4.421053
(mm) Average
Average Key
Key Length (mm) Average
100mm 10.26182
200mm 91.83333
20.42395 = Outlier 100mm 10.26182
300mm 75.31111
28.75667 = Outlier 200mm 20.49465
400mm 63.68434
33.53503 300mm 28.75667
500mm 58.66667
41.70885 400mm 33.53503
600mm 63.14172
56.53846 500mm 41.70885
700mm 41.70885
50.97619 600mm 63.14172
800mm 33.53503
63.68434 700mm 58.66667
900mm 28.75667
75.31111 800mm 63.68434
1000mm 20.49465
99.45238 900mm 75.31111
100mm 10.26182 1000mm 91.83333

Average Resistance in a length of wire (mm)




Resistance in wire


50 Average





100mm 200mm 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 700mm 800mm 900mm 1000mm
length of wire (mm)
Average Resistance




60 Average



100mm 200mm 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 700mm 800mm 900mm 1000mm
Length of wire mm

From looking at my results, I can see that the pattern shows the change in resistance,
and shows that the shorter the wire the less resistance in the wire. My error bars show
me the difference in the highest point and lowest point in my resistance.
There is less resistance in a shorter wire because it has less to travel to complete its
circuit. In a longer piece of wire it has a longer length to travel so the opposing force
is greater, causing more resistance.


During the investigation I learnt many things including that the longer the wire the
more resistance in the (nichrome) wire. But during my investigation we came up with
a few problems, and solutions. The main problem was that when I shortened the wire
it heated up too much which affected the voltage. This would of course affect the
reading and the fairness of the investigation. But I came up with a simple solution
which was to turn off the battery every time I used it and to let the wire to cool down.
This made the test fair and left the results more accurate. I could of improved this
method by changing the length of the string to 2m this would give me more results, so
I would have more results to find the resistance with. This would leave me with a
more accurate average resistance. If I where to do this investigation again I would use
a thinner piece of wire. I would do this because there is more resistance in a thinner
piece of wire so you would get a more precise result.
My results where most accurate because I used an advance way to get my results and
get the results in full decimal place. This allowed me to calculate my data in a
spreadsheet where I used excel to produce accurate resistances for me.

This shows one of the outliers which could have been

caused by the heat of the wire , which would have
effected the resistance, or it could have been a problem with the battery voltage been
set to the wrong voltage of 3volts.

I believe my results are very accurate as all the graphs show the same trend following
a similar line of best fit. I have however realised that in my first graph, excel put the
length in the wrong order so the graph is the same but the wrong way round.
I believe if I did this investigation again I would have chosen a thinner piece of wire
and also a longer piece of wire. I would do this so I would get a more accurate result
and also I would get more results to choose from. I may even decide to be stricter on
outliers so I got a more accurate result.
However overall I have learnt that the longer the string the more resistance there is in
a piece of wire.