The Change In Resistance Of A Carbon Paper

1383 words - 6 pages

The Change in Resistance of a Carbon Paper


The aim of this experiment is to see how the resistance of a
carbon-coated piece of paper changes when the different variables


A variable is a change in an experiment that could alter the
outcome/results of that experiment, and for this experiment the main
variables are type of paper, width of paper, length of paper, and

We are going to be studying how changing the width of the paper
affects the resistance, and so to ensure a fair test we will have to
keep all of the other variables constant, as if they were also
changing the results could be affected and the experiment would not be
of any use. We will therefore keep the type of paper the same (which
is easy), will keep the length of the paper the same for each
experiment (which is also easy), and also keep the temperature the
same, as we will simply not change the heat of the room (ie. Starting
fires, turning on the radiator, opening windows, etc).

We will change the width of the paper for each experiment by simply
cutting off 1cm horizontally for each experiment, so it will go 4cm,
3cm, etc. We will do this accurately and carefully with a ruler and
scissors, to ensure accuracy,


I predict that as the width decreases, the resistance will increase,
and as the width increases, the resistance will decrease. I predict
this because if the paper has a large width, there will be more room
for the current to flow through, and so the resistance will be less,
whereas if the paper is thinner, there will be less room, and the
resistance will increase. I also predict that if you double the width,
the resistance will halve, as there will be half as much room (and
vice versa), and that width and resistance will be inversely

Preliminary Experiment

The purpose of the preliminary experiment was to decide on an
appropriate length to keep the paper constant at, and an appropriate
shunt for the ammeter. The layout and format is the same as the main
experiment (see later).

We tested the various ammeter shunts, and decided to use the 10mA
shunt, as it gave a reading in the middle of the scale, whereas the
other shunts had given readings off or almost off the scale.

We also found that 32.5cm was the optimum length for the paper, as it
puts the reading at about 10 on the scale, which is a good as it
ensures that as we decrease the width (hence decreasing the amperes),
the readomg will not go off the scale as it was high to start with- if
we had started with a length that put it at something lower like 3 to
start with, it could have gone off the bottom of the scale and we
would have to start over.


-Electric wires

-Ammeter (and shunt)


-Carbon-coated paper...

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