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This experiment examined the effect of the changing length of a resistor wire on the current flowing through the wire. The current flowing through the wire was measured for different lengths of wire keeping the voltage and cross sectional area constant. It was expected that the current flowing through the wire would vary inversely with the length of the wire. This was verified by plotting the current-length graph. The value of current per unit length was found from the slope of the graph to be -0.287 ± 0.056 A/m. This agrees with the theoretical value of 0.218 A/m.

**Introduction and Background Theory
**

In 1820, Oersted found that when an electric field is passed through a wire, a magnetic needle placed near it shows a deflection. The angle through which the needle deflects varies with the magnitude of the current in the wire. Oersted concluded that an electric current flowing through a conductor produces a magnetic field in the surrounding space which causes the deflection of the magnetic needle [1]. The resistance of a wire is directly proportional to the length of the wire [2]. R= *L/A

Also, the current flowing through the wire is inversely proportional to the resistance of the wire (Ohm¶s Law) [3]. V=I*R Hence, if the length of the wire is doubled, the resistance doubles and the current halves. This in turn causes the magnetic field to halve and therefore angle of deflection of a magnetic needle placed near it, halves. The following experiment uses identical wires of different lengths to verify that the current flowing through a wire varies inversely with the length of the wire. It also verifies that the angle of deflection of the magnetic needle in a compass varies inversely with the length of the wire.

Experimental Method

A piece of Nichrome wire with no significant kinks in it was taken and its length was measured using a metre scale. The measured length was noted down. The insulation covering the ends of the wire was shaved off using a piece of sand paper. The wire was then connected in series with a multimeter and a 1.5 volt battery (Figure 1). The magnitude of the current measured by the multimeter was noted down. As the

0005 0.08 0.5710 0.02 2.0005 0. Figure 1 Multimeter + A Resistor Compass Resistor Figure 2 + - Next.0005 0.5 40 2.99 1.0005 0. The same method was used to determine the uncertainty in the length of the wire.5 40 45 50 50 2.2710 0.5 2.0005 0.02 0.03 0.1 * 10 -6 m.multimeter reading was fluctuating. The resistivity of Nichrome is 1.0005 Current (A) 1. The steps were repeated for the new length of wire and the readings were noted in a tabular form.5 The graph for current versus length was plotted: .02 0.7710 0. The readings taken for different lengths of wire are in the table below: Serial Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Length (m) 0.03 0.95 1.85 1. the reading was taken to be the approximate average of the shifting readings. This process was continued until the length of the wire became less than 0.0005 0.6 * 10 -6 m 2.1 metres less than the old one. Then.05 0.1710 0. The uncertainty was calculated by subtracting the extreme values from the approximate average.5 35 2.93 1. Results and Analysis The cross sectional area of the wire was 1. the multimeter was removed and the wire was connected to the battery alone.3710 0.0710 0. As the compass needle was not fluctuating.5 2.04 0.88 1.03 0.4710 0.02 Deflection Angle (degrees) 60 2. the wire was placed along the metre scale and cut such that the new length was 0. the uncertainty was calculated by taking half the value of each division on the compass.1 metre.0005 0.5 2. The value of current per unit length was calculated from the graph of length versus current and the value of deflection angle per unit length was calculated from the length versus angle of deflection graph. A compass was placed near the wire (Figure 2) and the angle of deflection produced was noted down.6710 0.96 2.5 60 2.

the graph for deflection angle versus length was plotted: .056 Amperes / metre.6 mm 2.80 Length m 0.85 1. resistivity 1.2 0.00 1.0. The experiment can be improved by using a wire made from a material with a lower resistivity such as copper or aluminium.95 1. This value is a constant for a wire of given material and cross sectional area and is proportional to voltage * area / resistivity.4 0.5 volt battery is 0. Next.05 2. The graph also agrees with the expected trend that current decreases as the length increases. the theoretical value of current per unit length agrees with the experimental value. connected to a 1.Current Amperes 2. The discrepancies in the readings were probably due to the wire being in contact with skin or the table.90 1. The relatively small uncertainty in this value implies that the readings taken were precise. The current per unit length of an ideal Nichrome wire of cross sectional area 1. This will give a larger value of current per unit length and hence a larger difference in current for small differences in length.218 A / m.6 The value of current per unit length was found from the slope of the graph to be . The negative sign in the value of current per unit length indicates that the current was flowing in the direction opposite to the one that was taken. This condition is similar to that of the experiment. Hence.287 0.1 * 10 -6 m.

0005 m is much lower than the expected. April 2008. p 285. p 280. Griffiths and c. This was probably due to external factors such as the battery being too close to the compass.6 The value of angle of deflection per unit length was found from the slope of the graph to be -10. The angle of deflection also depends inversely on the distance of the compass from the wire. The graph however. [2] [1] . The large uncertainty in this value implies that the readings taken were inaccurate and that external factors influenced them. p 671. This value for the wire of length 0. the angle of deflection per unit length had too large an uncertainty to provide a definite value. Matter and Interactions II ± Electric and Magnetic Interactions. Y.Deflection Angle degrees 60 55 50 45 40 35 Length m 0.714 14. The deflection in the compass is maximized when the wire is running from the earth¶s magnetic north to south or vice versa.2 0. The negative sign in the value indicates the direction in which the current was flowing.2710 0. David J. Gambhir.797 degrees / metre. However. 2007. This value is a constant for a wire of given material and cross sectional area. Inglefield. References A Textbook of Physics Standard 11.4 0. S. agrees with the expected trend that angle of deflection decreases as the length increases. 1999. This is probably due to the above-given reasons. Conclusions The experimental value of current per unit length agrees with the theoretical value. [3] Introduction to Electrodynamics. Chabay and Sherwood.

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