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The effect of temperature on conductivity and resistanceFeatured science projectScience project video


science fair projectThe materials required for this science fair project:
- 5 meters of varnish insulated copper wire with a diameter of 0.5mm (can be purchased from motor rewinding workshops)
- A PVC pipe about 300mm in length
- Three 1.5V batteries and the casing to hold the batteries
- 3 jumper wires with crocodile clip at both ends
- An ohm meter
- An ammeter that can measure currents  up to 10A
- A paper cutter
- An infrared thermometer
- 1 roll of insulation tape


1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the temperature of the copper wire. The dependent variable is the resistance of the wire. This is determined by measuring the current and resistance of the wire. The constants (control variables) are the room temperature, the applied voltage, the diameter of the wire and the length of the wire.

2. The wire with a length of 5 meters is wound around the PVC pipe. The ends of the wire are fixed to the pipe using the insulation tape. About 3 cm of insulation is removed from the wire tips using the paper knife. The resistance of the wire is measured using the ohm meter.

3. The 3 batteries are connected in series to produce 4.5V. The ammeter, batteries and wire wound around the pipe are connected as shown in figure 1. The connection is made using the jumper wires. This creates an electromagnetic field around the PVC pipe.

4. The initial reading shown on the ammeter is recorded in the table below. As the current flows through the electromagnet's wire, the temperature of the wire will increase. This temperature is measured using the infrared thermometer. As the temperature increases 10°C, the ammeter reading is recorded, and the wire is disconnected from the circuit and its resistance is immediately measured using the ohm meter.

5. Procedure 4 is repeated as the temperature of the wire increases every 10°C until the highest temperature is reached.
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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Basic safety requirements