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Resistance of a Wire

Resistance of a Wire Lab

Purpose:

In this activity you will be examining the factors that affect the resistance of a wire.  Part of this lab will be done as a simulation and part will be done live.

Procedure

Part 1:  Resistance vs. Length

  1. Open the program found here .  Click on the begin button to start the lab.

  2. Make sure that your wire type is set to Nichrome and then measure the radius of the wire by using the wire cross-section in the bottom left of the program display.  You will not be changing either of  these factors in part one of this lab.

  3. Create a data table that lists the length of the wire in meters and the resistance of the wire in Ohm's.

  4. Collect data for 10 unique lengths and then graph your data in Logger Pro. Make sure that you transfer your graph, with all the things a good graph should contain, into your lab book.

  5. In a sentence or so, give the relationship between the length of a wire and its resistance.

Part 2:  Resistance and Wire Thickness

  1. Keep your wire set as Nichrome and make sure that your wire is at least 2 meters long.  Write down the exact length of the wire you will be using and make sure you don't change this parameter through the course of part 2.

  2. Create a data table that lists the radius of the wire in mm, the cross-sectional area of the wire in mm squared and the resistance of the wire in Ohm's.  You will get the cross-sectional area using the formula for the area of a circle.

  3. Collect data for 10 unique radii and areas and then graph your data (Resistance vs. Area) in Logger Pro.  Make sure that you transfer your graph, with all the things a good graph should contain, into your lab book.

  4. In a sentence or so, give the relationship between the cross-sectional area of a wire and its resistance.

Part 3:  Wire Type

  1. For this part of the lab you will be switching your wire between copper and aluminum.  You will not be changing the thickness of the wire.  Make sure you write down the radius of the wire you will be using for this part of the lab.

  2. Create a data table that lists the length of the wire in m and then has two columns for resistance, one for copper and one for aluminum.

  3. Randomly generate a certain length of wire and the switch from copper to aluminum and write down both resistances.  Don't change your length until you have taken both readings.

  4. Collect data for 10 unique lengths and plot two lines on your graph in Logger Pro.  Make sure that you transfer your graph, with all the things a good graph should contain, into your lab book.

  5. In a sentence or so, give the significance between the slope of the lines and the conductivity of the wire material you are using.

Part 4:  Live Part

  1. You will be doing this part up front with your teacher.  

  2. In your lab book, write down the steps that you must employ to measure resistance using your multimeter.

  3. Add your data to the data for your class.  Copy the overall data table into your lab book.

  4. When you are done everything else for this lab, answer the questions found here.

  5. If you were not in class for this part, watch this video to see how it was done.


Using Meter to Measure Resistance

Things to have in your lab book:

  • Purpose

  • Directions from part 4 on how to measure resistance using your multimeter.

  • Data tables from each part

  • Graphs from each part with all the things a good graph should contain.

  • The equations for each graph.

  • A concluding sentence from each part.
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