# Resistivity of Nichrome experiment

• ABarrows
In summary, the result of the experiment is always 5 x 10^-7 instead of 1 x 10^-6, and the discrepancy was due to the fact that the wire used was Manganin instead of Nichrome.
ABarrows
Every year we do an experiment to find the resistivity of Nichrome wire, and every year the result is the same: 5 x 10^-7 instead of 1 x 10^-6. For the life of me I haven't been able to track down why it's a factor of 2 off.

We use a Wheatstone bridge that has a 1 m length Nichrome wire stretched over a meter stick. A Heathkit power supply (either model SP-2710, IP-2711, or SP-2720) feeds the current through a Fluke 75 multimeter set as an ammeter; a patch cord from the meter's COM terminal is clamped via an alligator clip to a sliding contact that moves along the meter stick, and the supply's negative terminal connects to the plug-in at the zero end of the wire. A second Fluke 75 multimeter serves as a voltmeter, with its patch cords accordingly plugged into those patch cords previously mentioned.

They start at the 5 cm mark and work out to the 80 cm mark in 5 cm increments, measuring the voltages with a constant current of 0.5 A. The instructions say the wire's diameter is about 0.5 mm--I got 0.515 mm when I checked it with a micrometer, so that's not the problem. If I measure the resistance of the wire with a multimeter directly, I get about 2 ohms; this is exactly what they get in the first part of the experiment when they use a 75 cm length and measure corresponding voltages for currents from 0.05 A to 0.5 A in 0.05 A increments. I checked the patch cords and found they do not lend any appreciable resistance to the circuit (they all measured 0 ohms with the multimeter when connected together).

I'm out of ideas as to what else to check to track down the discrepancy. Any suggestions?

using your value of 2ohms and 0.75m length and 0.5mm diameter I also get 5x10^-7 !
My textbook gives the value for nichrome of 'about' 1x10^-6 so there may be variation between samples !... grasping at straws.
Are you certain it is nichrome?

I considered that it just might have a low value, but everything I've been able to find says Nichrome's resistivity varies from 1.0 x 10^-6 to 1.5 X 10^-6, so I doubt there's a composition variety with 0.5 x 10^-6 as its resistivity. And no, I'm not 100% certain it's Nichrome, but I have no reason not to take the other professor's word that it is (wish he had kept the paperwork that came with the bridges when he bought them).

Well, we figured it out (just in case anyone is curious). Turns out it is Manganin, not Nichrome--we used an ohmmeter to measure actual resistances for various lengths, applying the R=ρL/A relationship directly without running current through it (as the students do for the experiment), and we got the same resistivity as always. A Google search then led us to Manganin as the metal with a similar resistivity value (4.82 x 10^-7 Ωm), and Manganin's wikipedia page says Wheatstone bridges are often made with this metal. Problem finally solved. Huzzah!

I would first commend the experimenter for their thoroughness and attention to detail in conducting the experiment. It is clear that they have taken all necessary steps to ensure accurate and precise measurements.

The fact that the resistivity of Nichrome wire consistently comes out as 5 x 10^-7 instead of the expected 1 x 10^-6 is certainly puzzling. One possible explanation could be the presence of impurities in the Nichrome wire that are affecting its resistivity. It would be helpful to analyze the wire for any impurities and compare it to a pure sample of Nichrome wire to see if there is a difference in resistivity.

Another factor to consider is the temperature of the wire during the experiment. The resistivity of a material can vary with temperature, so it is important to control for this variable. It would be beneficial to conduct the experiment at different temperatures and see if there is any change in the resistivity of the wire.

Additionally, it would be helpful to check the accuracy of the Wheatstone bridge and the multimeters being used. It is possible that there is a calibration issue or a malfunction in one of the instruments. Conducting a calibration check and comparing the results to known values could help identify any discrepancies.

Overall, it is important to continue troubleshooting and checking all possible variables to determine the cause of the discrepancy in the resistivity measurements. With careful analysis and experimentation, the cause can be identified and the results can be improved for future experiments.

## 1. What is the purpose of the resistivity of Nichrome experiment?

The purpose of this experiment is to determine the resistivity of a sample of Nichrome wire by measuring its resistance and dimensions.

## 2. What materials are needed for the resistivity of Nichrome experiment?

The materials needed for this experiment include a sample of Nichrome wire, a power supply, an ammeter, a voltmeter, a ruler, and alligator clips.

## 3. How is the resistivity of Nichrome calculated?

The resistivity of Nichrome can be calculated by using the formula ρ = RA/L, where R is the resistance of the wire, A is the cross-sectional area, and L is the length of the wire. The units for resistivity are ohm-metres (Ωm).

## 4. What factors can affect the resistivity of Nichrome?

The resistivity of Nichrome can be affected by the temperature of the wire, the composition of the alloy, and the impurities present in the wire.

## 5. How can the resistivity of Nichrome be used in practical applications?

The resistivity of Nichrome is commonly used in the heating elements of appliances such as toasters, hair dryers, and ovens due to its high resistance and ability to withstand high temperatures. It is also used in electrical resistors and in thermocouples for temperature measurement.

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