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Factors Affecting Electrical Resistance

Experiment #9 from Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics

Education Level
High School


Metals are generally excellent conductors of heat and electricity. Because of this, we tend to neglect any resistance in wires when we examine the behavior of ordinary loads (bulbs, resistors, motors, etc.) in electrical circuits. But metals are not perfect conductors, otherwise the wires in our toasters would not get hot. In this experiment, you will examine the factors that affect the electrical resistance of metals.


In this experiment, you will

  • Collect potential difference and current data for a number of metal rods.
  • Determine the electrical resistance for each of the readings.
  • Determine how length, cross-sectional area, and type of material affect the resistance of a metal rod.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.


Teaching to an educational standard? This experiment supports the standards below.

International Baccalaureate (IB)/Physics
Investigating one or more of the factors that affect resistance

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This experiment is #9 of Advanced Physics with Vernier — Beyond Mechanics. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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