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Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y

Sannidhi Bosamia
Partner: Xahra Batrisyia Ashraf
Mr. Marlon A Uson
Physics
11/9/2014
Effect of Resistance of Heat Accumulated in a Circuit
I.

Introduction
A. Background Information

A circuit is defined by The Physics Classroom as a closed loop through which charges can
continuously move (2014). A simple circuit normally consists of a battery, a bulb and wires which
connect the battery and bulb. This circuit is closed and the bulb will light up if there is enough
potential difference (voltage) within the circuit. This circuit is also know as an electrical circuit as
the source of the movement of charged particles is due to electricity flowing through the circuit
(The Physics Classroom, 2014).
Different factors affect the brightness of the bulb and the value of the current passing
through. The value of the current passing through is measured in Amperes or Amps. The symbol
for this value is A. An ammeter is used to measure how many Amps are flowing through a current;
the higher the value the more current, and thus the brighter the bulb. By increasing the voltage of
the battery/power supply, the current passing through the circuit will increase which means the
brightness of the lamp will increase, too. The increase in voltage makes the electrons in the current
move faster and thus increasing the number of Amperes passing through the current. However, if
too much current is passed through the circuit, the bulb will blow and open the circuit (BBC
Bitesize, 2014). Therefore, the current and voltage need to be actively measured. The instrument
used to measure the voltage passing through a circuit is called a voltmeter.
Another factor which affects the brightness of the bulb would be the resistance in a circuit. A
small amount of resistance is present within the bulb however can be negligible when doing an
experiment as long as the bulb is kept constant (not changed). The resistance of the circuit can
therefore be manipulated by using resistors or a rheostat. A rheostat is a variable resistor. By
increasing the resistance in a variable resistor, the current passing through within the circuit will
decrease and therefore the brightness of the bulb will decrease. A simple resistor has a definite
value (which is denoted in Ohms, or ). This simple resistor cannot be manipulated however can
be added in series or parallel form in a circuit. If the simple resistor is added in parallel, the total
resistance will decrease within the circuit and more current will pass through. This is known as
octopus wiring. If resistance is increased in a series circuit, the current passing through will
decrease as the total resistance is increased. This can be easily explained through the formulas
used to calculate the total resistance in a circuit (which is different for series and parallel circuits).
Series (Total Resistance - RT): R1 + R2 + R3 + Rx
Parallel (RT-1): R1-1+R2-1+R3-1+Rx-1
In this particular experiment, a rheostat was used and was added in series to the circuit. A
power supply was used as the power source; a bulb was used to calculate the heat accumulated; a
voltmeter and ammeter was used to help calculate the resistance of the rheostat when it was
manipulated; a thermometer was used to calculate the temperature of the bulb, both initial and
final; a stopwatch was used to ensure that the time the circuit remained turned on was constant.
This experiment deals with the heat accumulated in the circuit when the resistance in the circuit is

Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y


manipulated. The resistance of the rheostat is increased and thus, the heat accumulated in the
circuit is manipulated. The brightness of the bulb decreases as the resistance of the rheostat
increases. When bulbs are kept on for long periods of time, the heat accumulated in the bulb
increases and with that basis, we increased the resistance to find out how much heat is
accumulated in a circuit when it is kept on for a constant amount of time.
B. Research Question
How does the change in resistance effect the heat accumulated within a circuit?
C. Hypothesis
If the resistance in a series circuit is increased, then the heat accumulated (or more specifically, the
temperature of the lightbulb) will increase, because when the resistance is increased more friction
is produced within the electrons as they fight against the resistance. This friction within the
electrons produces heat and therefore the temperature produced will be higher when the
resistance is increased.
D. Parts of the Experiment (Variables)
1. Independent Variable
Resistance: the resistance was manipulated by increasing the resistance in the rheostat.
2. Dependent Variable
Temperature: the heat accumulated in the circuit is the responding variable and it is measured by
placing a thermometer over the bulb.
3. Controlled Variables

Bulb used
Number of bulbs
Number of wires used
Material of wires used (i.e. using the same wires throughout the entire experiment)
Initial voltage from the power supply
Ammeter used
Voltmeter used
Initial Temperature
Thermometer used
Time the power supply is turned on for

II. Materials
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

1 Bulb
Wires
1 Thermometer
1 Ammeter
1 Voltmeter
Stopwatch
Power Supply
1 Rheostat

III. Procedure
1) We connected the power supply to a socket.

Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y


2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

The power supply was then connected to the rheostat using a wire.
Another wire was used to connect the rheostat to an ammeter.
The ammeter was connected to the bulb.
The bulb was connected to the power supply.
A voltmeter was connected in parallel to the bulb as it wasn't working when connected to the
rheostat.
7) The initial temperature of the bulb was noted down (it was the same throughout the entire
experiment).
8) The power supply was set to 4 volts and was then turned on.
9) The rheostat was kept at its minimal for the first resistance.
10) The stopwatch was started the exact moment the power supply was turned on. The
stopwatch was set for 3 minutes.
11) The voltage and current was noted down from their respective instruments.
12) The temperature increase within the bulb was observed throughout the entire 3 minutes.
The final temperature was recorded as soon as the 3 minutes were completed.
13) The steps 7-12 were repeated two more times to increase the accuracy of the first
resistance (in total there were three trials).
14) The resistance was increased slightly more.
15) The power supply was kept constant and steps 10-13 were repeated for this second
resistance.
16) The resistance was further increased.
17) The power supply was kept constant and steps 10-13 were repeated for this last resistance.
18) The data was then calculated. To calculate the resistance of the rheostat, the formula V/R
was used. The voltage was calculated by subtracting the voltage recorded of the bulb from
the initial voltage. The current was recorded from the ammeter. The final voltage was then
divided by the current to get the resistance of the rheostat.
IV. Observations and Data
A. Observation
We observed that as the resistance of the rheostat increased, the bulb got dimmer and hence
produced less heat. This therefore went against our hypothesis as we understood that there would
be more friction within the circuit and therefore more heat would be produced within the circuit. We
did not realise that the current produced within the circuit would decrease and thus the brightness
of the bulb will decrease. This would as a consequence produce less heat.
After touching the bulb following the opening of the circuit and the notation of the final temperature,
the bulb was significantly hotter than that of the initial temperature. I found this interesting and
understood this concept better.

Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y


B. Data
Trials

First Resistance

Second Resistance

Initial
Final
VI
Tempera Tempera
ture
ture

Third Resistance

Initial
Final
VI
Tempera Tempera
ture
ture

Initial
Final
VI
Tempera Tempera
ture
ture

26

35 (4-3.2)
0.4

26

34 (4-2.6)
0.3

26

28 (4-1)
0.2

26

36 (4-3.2)
0.4

26

37 (4-2.6)
0.3

26

28 (4-1)
0.2

26

37 (4-3.2)
0.4

26

38 (4-2.6)
0.3

26

28 (4-1)
0.2

Average

26

36

26

26

28

36.3

4.7

15

Table 1
Trials

First Resistance
Temperature
Change

Average

Second Resistance

Resistance

Temperature
Change

Third Resistance

Resistance

Temperature
Change

Resistance

4.7

15

10

4.7

15

11

12

4.7

15

10

9.7

4.7

15

Table 2

Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y


Temperature Change

Effect of Resistance on Temperature Change


11
10

Temperature Change ()

9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0

10

11

12 13 14 15 16

Resistance ()
Fig 1.1: A graph showing the trend/relationship between the change in temperature and the resistance of
the rheostat connected in series.
Fig 1.1 shows the relationship between the change in temperature and the resistance of the
rheostat which is connected in series. The trend line helps predict the temperature change for a
particular value of resistance. The change of temperature between the first resistance and second
resistance is extremely minor. This can be due to the fact that the difference of resistance between
both these resistances is minor; the change between the first and third resistance is 13 ohms
whereas the difference between the first and second resistance is 2.7 ohms only. This factor could
make the temperature change very small whereas the temperature change for 15 ohms is more
significant when comparing it to the rest of the resistances. Additionally, we were unable to
calculate the exact ohms and therefore, we used different spots on the rheostat to investigate.
Hence, there is a varied result produced. Furthermore, we were meant to calculate the temperature
near the rheostat however we calculated the temperature of the bulb. The temperature in the bulb
is proportional to the current produced within the circuit. The current is inversely proportional to the
resistance and thus less current will be produced within the circuit. This decrease in current will
decrease the heat produced in the circuit as the light bulbs brightness will get dimmer as the
resistance increases.
V. Calculations
The calculation used in this experiment was used to find the resistance of the rheostat. The
formula was derived from Ohms Law. Ohms Law states that the electrical current flowing in the
circuit (I) is proportional to the voltage and indirectly proportional to the resistance (R). Thus
deriving the formula:

V = IR
This formula helps calculate many different aspects of the circuit. This formula was manipulated to
find the resistance:

Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y

R=VI
We used this formula to calculate the resistance of the rheostat by subtracting the voltage found
from the bulb from the original voltage which was on the power supply. This gave us the voltage
and the current was derived from the ammeter which was connected in series after the rheostat.
VI. Analysis
The trend between the temperature change and the resistance of the rheostat is: the increase in
resistance creates less accumulation of heat. This can easily be soon from Fig 1.1 whose trend
line clearly shows that when the resistance of the rheostat increases, the heat accumulated in the
circuit (or specifically the bulb) decreases. Table 2 also helps understand the temperature change
and the resistance of the rheostat for the particular try. In total, we did three tries per different
resistance as that would help increase the accuracy of the experiment as well as the reliability of
the experiment. The more tries would also bring average values which would help calculate the
temperature change and resistance easily.
VII. Conclusion
Our hypothesis does not support the results of the experiment. It is therefore rejected as the data
proves otherwise. Our hypothesis claimed that the resistance of the circuit was proportional to the
heat accumulated within the circuit however that is not the case. In fact, it is the complete opposite.
The resistance in the circuit is inversely proportional to the heat accumulated in the circuit (or
specifically the light bulb). This investigation was actually not done the way we explained in our
hypothesis which was that the heat accumulated within the wires. We found the temperature of the
bulb which was solely dependant on the current passing through the circuit as opposed to the
friction which would be produced by the electrons in the current. The current produced in the circuit
decreased as the resistance increased and thus the heat produced in the circuit decreased, too.
This is clearly evident in Fig 1.1.
VIII.Sources of Error
While doing the experiment some of our fellow peers were working on their experiments as well.
When they started theirs, they turned off the Air Conditioner while me and my partner were halfway
through the experiment. This change in the overall room temperature and no use of air conditioner
can impact the heat accumulated within the circuit as the A.C. would not cool down the
temperature of the bulb and therefore the results would be more reliable. Additionally, the current
and voltage calculated were slightly rounded off as the needle would point between two points. The
voltage of the bulb also fluctuated a bit which may seem that the voltmeter could be slightly faulty
or the current was not passing through the bulb properly. This can affect the resistance of the
circuit slightly. Another source of error could be where we positioned the thermometer on the bulb.
Each time, the position was different as the shape of the bulb is spherical and it is difficult to keep
the position constant as the amount of heat in different places of the bulb may be different. The
glass coating of the bulb would also insulate the actual heat accumulated within the circuit and just
give an estimate of the temperature inside the circuit as glass is an insulator to heat and electricity.

Sannidhi Bosamia 11Y


Works Cited
Pople, Stephen. Complete Physics. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
"Resistance: Revision." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.
"What Is an Electric Circuit?" What Is an Electric Circuit? N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2014.