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To investigate the relationship between potential difference and current for a
resistor in order to verify Ohm’s Law.

Diagram 1 – Circuit Set-up

 6 x insulated crocodile-clip electrical wires
 Ammeter
 Milliameter A
 Volt meter
 Variable (2-12) V DC power supply 10Ω
 10Ω resistor

1. The circuit was set up as shown in diagram 1.
2. The power supply was set to read 0V and the voltage and current were read from
the volt meter and ammeter.
3. Step 2 was repeated for the 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 volt settings on the power supply.
If the current was too small to read accurately, the range on the ammeter was

Table 1 – Relationship Between Potential Difference and Current
Voltage intervals on Potential Difference (V) Current (A)
power supply Volt meter reading Ammeter reading
0 0 0
2 2 0.22
4 4 0.35
6 5.6 0.5
8 7.5 0.65
10 9.5 0.8
12 11.5 1

© Sarah Don, Australia, 2008

Interpretation of Results:
Graph 1 - Ohmic Resistance
Potential Difference (V) 12
10 y = 11.5x
8 V= RxI
6 R = 11.5
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
Current (I)

A straight line graph was drawn from the data collected from the experiment,
which was expected.
y  mx
Graph12- –Ohmic
Graph Resistance
Calculating Resistance m
14 run
Potential Difference (V)

Points taken 8
10 y = 11.5x
from line of m
8 V= RxI best fit 0.7
6 R = 11.5
11.4  m

y  11.4 x
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
Current (I)
V  const.  I
V const.  11.4
According to Ohm’s law, R 
Therefore, the resistance could be found  V  11.4  I
from the gradient of the graph.

The point (0,0) is a legitimate point on the graph because, according to the data
gained from the experiment, when there was no potential difference, there was no current.
Ohm’s law states that voltage is directly proportional to current:
V I Therefore V was plotted against I so the resistance could be
found by calculating the gradient.
V  R  I
V  R I
R  
y  m x
Graph 2 - Prediction of graph for a higher value of resistance Graph 3 - Prediction of graph for a lower value of resistance
14 14

Potential Difference (V)

Potential Difference (V)

12 12
10 10
8 8
6 6
4 4
2 2
0 0
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2
Current (I) Current (I)

A higher resistance would result in a straight line graph with a higher gradient
when potential difference is graphed against current. Therefore a lower resistance would
result in a straight line graph with a lower gradient.
Resistance is measured in ohms (Ω). However, from the formula R  , the
-1 I
equivalent units in terms of volts and amps was found to be VA (volts per amp).

Ohm’s law states that voltage is directly proportional to current, provided that the
temperature remains constant. The straight line graph that could be drawn from the data
showed the mathematical relationship ( V  R  I ) that exists between potential difference
and current. Therefore Ohm’s law was verified.

Ohm’s law is only valid as long as the temperature of the circuit remains constant.
Resistance means friction, which causes heat, particularly with a resistor with such a low
resistance as 10Ω. There was a high current travelling through the resistor, so there would
have been some temperature increase with each voltage interval that was tested. As a
straight line graph was obtained from the data, no significant increase in temperature was
noticeable (otherwise the graph would have been curved). However, if this experiment
was to be repeated, a resistor with a higher value for resistance (~200Ω–300Ω) would be
used instead to minimise the increase in temperature as a result of resistance.
Before each reading was taken from either the ammeter or volt meter, the meter
was inspected to make sure that the arrow was sitting exactly on the “0” mark.
Each of the meters also carried a percentage error of half a scale division. The volt
meter measured up to 15V with one line for every half volt. So, the volt readings could
have been ±0.25V out. The ammeter measured up to 3Amps with one line for every 0.2V.
So, the readings could have been ±0.1Amps out. For the first few readings the current
was so small on the ammeter that ±0.1Amps error made quite a large difference so a
milliammeter was used to give a more accurate reading.
Resistors come with a percentage tolerance value. The 10Ω resistor that was used
in the experiment had a ±5% tolerance value. This means that it could have deviated
±0.5Ω from the 10Ω it claimed to be. From the experiment, the resistance of the resistor
was found to be 11.4Ω – 0.9Ω outside of the percent tolerance range. This could have
been due to any of the issues discussed above.