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Graph 1: A V - I graph of the results gathered from the experiment using a log-log paper

The V - I Characteristic of an Incandescent Lamp

Glenn Cyril D. Omayan

Ohms Law has been an important principle in Physics. However, this said law does have limitations where the use
of Ohms Law is not recommended. This happens when a conductor does not have a definite ratio between the
voltage and the amount of current in the system. Instead of having a linear graph, these conductors show a non-
linear graph. In our experiment, we used incandescent lamps to measure the current given some voltage values
that is then plotted to a log-log graphing paper where we can see the non-linear relationship of the two values.
From the gathered data from our experiment, we found out that the incandescent lamp follows an exponential
relationship from the amount of current to the voltage of the system. Therefore as the amount of current increases,
the voltage increases by a specific power.

I. Introduction
Resistance, defined on the Ohms Law, on conductors is R = V
/ I. However, this principle
states that the electrical systems resistance must be uniform otherwise the law is not applicable. In our
experiment, we used incandescent lamps. Filament lamps, like incandescent lamps, have their resistance
increased as the amount of current input is increased. This process must be done to the lamp to prevent
from breakage due to high temperature. Because the incandescent lamps follow an exponential V - I graph,
an applicable formula is the power relation of current and voltage given as
V = C * I

where C and n are constants. C is the y-intercept when current is at 1.0A and n is the gradient or the slope
of line. Since we are graphing the data in a log-log graphing paper, we applied the logarithmic functions
to both sides of the equation thus yielding us to an equation of
log V = n log C + log I

Figure 1: A rough graph of the relationship between Potential
Difference (V) and the amount of Current (I) on filament lamps
This experiment will show the characteristics of the relationship of the voltage and current in a
non-constant resistance.
II. Methodology
For this experiment, the materials used were the power supply unit (PSU), an incandescent lamp,
a couple of wires and a lamp socket.
As for the experimental procedures to be done systematically, the power supply unit (PSU) was
first set to 0V. After the incandescent lamp was connected to the PSU, the PSU is then set to the rating of
the used lamp. The current reading and the voltage is then read and recorded from the output display of
the PSU. From the maximum rating, the voltage is then decremented by 1.0V by adjusting the knob in the
PSU. This process was then repeated until the filament of the lamp no longer lit up. Current and voltage
readings are to be recorded for every step.

III. Results and Discussions
Based from the data that was gathered, the relationship is positive. Therefore increase in current
increases the voltage. Furthermore, since it is a filament lamp which does not obey Ohms Law due to
non-constant resistance, the graph is not linear but rather exponential. From the log-log graph, shown on
the next page, the slope obtained is n = 2.37 and the y-intercept is C = 29.62 giving us a line equation of
log V = 2.37log I + log 29.62 or V = 29.62I
. The table below shows recorded values for both voltage
and current readings.

Current (A) Voltage (V)
0.7 12.0V
0.67 11.0V
0.64 10.0V
0.61 9.0V
0.57 8.0V
0.54 7.0V
0.5 6.0V
0.46 5.0V
0.42 4.0V
0.37 3.0V
0.32 2.0V
0.25 1.0V

Table 1: Recorded Values for Voltage and Current Readings

IV. Conclusions
From the gathered current and voltage readings, after the graph was plotted in a log-log paper, we
can tell that it follows a relatively straight line. Therefore, the relationship between the voltage and the
amount of current is exponential thus an increase of current yields an exponential growth of the voltage
value which implies that the instantaneous resistance of the lamp increases when the current is increased
because of the very high instantaneous voltage value

V. Acknowledgments
I would like to show my deepest gratitude to the following people who helped or inspired me in
making this lab report:
To our Phys42SNL teacher, Prof. Harold Bulanon, for giving us a task to make a lab report and
also for checking the abstract part of my lab report forehand. Also for being a good facilitator in the lab,
who helps us if we did not get the instructions.
To Kendricke George Andre Ong, my laboratory partner, for being always there, helping me if I
needed any help.
To Nescafe Philippines for making good quality coffee that kept me awake during the past few
days while is I was working on this lab report.
And to all people, who were not mentioned, who helped, inspired and annoyed me in the process
of planning and making this lab report.

VI. Bibliography Graphs for Non-ohmic Device, 2010
The Physics Teacher, Dec. 1999. Vol. 37, Basic Physics of the Incandescent Lamp, pp. 520-