Does the material used in a circuit affect the voltage of an electric current?

Student: Aiden Dutt
Table: 15
Experimentation location: Home
Regulated Research (Form 1c): No
Project continuation (Form 7): No

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 ​​“Basic Electrical Safety.” EHS, University Of Washington, 

Hinchliffe, Jo. “How to Use a Multimeter to Measure Voltage, Current and More.” Tom's Hardware, Tom's Hardware, 12 June 2022, 

Electrical Circuit Basics | 12 Volt Planet.

Gregersen, Eric. “Ohm's Law.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2012, 

Enrera, Rochelle. “Take Online Courses. Earn College Credit. Research Schools, Degrees & Careers.” | Take Online Courses. Earn College Credit. Research Schools, Degrees & Careers, 2 June 2022, 



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Research Plan:



Question: I will be testing the effect of different materials on an electric current. To do this, I will put many different materials in an electric circuit and measure the metal's resistance, as well as the lightbulb's brightness, and the voltage of the circuit. Then, after I have collected all of my data, I can organize it and find the relationship between the resistance of a circuit and an electric current. 


Rationale: I decided to choose this area of science because it is something that has become a part of our lives. We have built our world around electronics and technology so it is important that we can understand how it works and what we can use to create electronic devices. This information will be important because it can help improve our electronic devices and make our daily lives easier. Knowing what material to use for an electronic device is vital because the material can have a huge impact on the circuit, this is why I wanted to conduct this experiment so I could learn and understand how electronics work with different materials. 

Hypotheses: Each metal has a different resistance and conducts electricity differently, which is why I think that the brightness of the light bulb will change based on the materials resistance as it will change the voltage of the electric circuit. The higher the resistance, the more it is resisting the flow of electrons, so if a material has a very low resistance then it won’t resist the flow of electrons. Because the current is going to stay constant, according to Ohm's law, the only thing that will change is the voltage going into the light bulb. The lower the resistance, the brighter the lightbulb will be if every other variable is kept the same which should make the lightbulb brighter than if the material had a higher resistance.


Procedures: First create the circuit by connecting the negative side of a battery to a negative electrical clip, and the other side of the clip will be connected to the material being tested. Connect another negative clip from the material to the light bulb. Finally, use a positive clip to connect the light bulb back to the battery to complete the circuit. Then, turn on the switch for the circuit and connect the multimeter to the material. Set the Lux meter up at an equal distance each test to measure the brightness of the light bulb. Gather and write the information, and then swap the material by unclamping it and replacing it with a different one.

Data Analysis: I will be analyzing many different types of data, for example, to make sure that the material used is conductive, I can simply check if the lightbulb turns on or not. If the material does conduct electricity and the light turns on, then I can further describe how bright it is, by using a Lux meter. This will later help us find the relationship between the brightness of the bulb and the electric current passing through it. I will also be measuring the resistance of the material being tested by using a multimeter and the voltage going through the light bulb. After I have conducted the experiment, I can piece together the different pieces of data and find the relationship between the resistance of a material used in a circuit and the voltage of an electrical current.

Questions and Answers

1. What was the major objective of your project and what was your plan to achieve it? For my project, I wanted to further understand how electrons can travel through different materials and how that could affect the electrical circuits that we use everyday. In this experiment, I decided to test them on a lightbulb so that I could find out if it would make it dimmer, or even brighter than a normal wire. I measured the resistance of each material on its own and then put it into the circuit, then I recorded how it changed the voltage of the circuit and if the brightness of the light bulb changed.

       a. Was that goal the result of any specific situation, experience, or problem you encountered?  The reason I decided to do my project on this topic is because I am interested in the way electrons travel and how different materials can affect it. I wanted to know how the different resistances of materials would impact a circuit and if it is important to use the right materials.

       b. Were you trying to solve a problem, answer a question, or test a hypothesis? The main goal for this project was both to answer a question and to test if my hypothesis was correct. However, the results of this experiment could solve many safety related electric issues, for example knowing to use a conductive or non-conductive material is crucial because if you used the wrong material, it could result in someone getting shocked.


2. What were the major tasks you had to perform in order to complete your project? After I had the idea for my project, I had to do a lot of research because there was a lot of important information that I needed for this experiment, that I didn't know. I also had to learn many different skills, including how to use a multi-meter and how to create an electric circuit. I then created a regular circuit as a control to test everything on, and started to add the different materials. I made sure to have the have the same environment for each test and to keep the controlled variables the same as well.

       a. For teams, describe what each member worked on.


3. What is new or novel about your project? My project is a little different to most electrical experiments, in that I am proving Ohm's law and also finding the relationship between voltage, resistance, and current. It is also different to most of the experiments that I have done before because I  usually measure something over a long period of time and in only one way, so recording many different data points quickly was something different for me.

       a. Is there some aspect of your project's objective, or how you achieved it that you haven't done before? There are many parts of the experiment that I haven't done before because electricity is not something I have worked with a lot. I had to learn how to use a Lux and multi-meter and even how to set up electrical circuits, I had also never heard of Ohm's law and had to do a lot of research on that.

       b. Is your project's objective, or the way you implemented it, different from anything you have seen? I have seen many experiments on testing if different materials are conductive or not but I went further and tried to prove Ohm's law and how the resistance can affect the voltage of a circuit.

       c. If you believe your work to be unique in some way, what research have you done to confirm that it is? When I did my research, I had to find how to make an electrical circuit, and while I was searching, I noticed that most of the circuits were different than the ones I needed and were proving different things. So I had to do some experimenting and change the circuit to make sure that I could get the right data that I needed from my circuit.


4. What was the most challenging part of completing your project?  Surprisingly, I think that learning how to use a multi-meter was actually the most challenging part of my project, because it was more complicating than I thought and very different to the what I was used to. Creating the circuit was didn't take that long and using a Lux meter was very simple, but the multi-meter had so many uses and even after doing a lot of research, I didn't understand it.

      a. What problems did you encounter, and how did you overcome them? I had trouble getting to understand the multi-meter and how to measure the resistance and voltage of the circuit, but after I did some experimenting, I realized the problem was that it was to sensitive to measure the little difference in resistance so I switched from measuring the resistance of the material I was testing, to measuring the voltage of the circuit. This meant that I could see how the different materials affected the voltage and use Ohm's law to find out the resistance of the material.

      b. What did you learn from overcoming these problems? I learned from my problem that even if one thing doesn't work the way you wanted to, there is still a way around it. In my case, I wasn't able to measure the resistance of the materials so I had to do something that I could do, which was measure the voltage of the circuit, then I found a way to connect both things together using Ohm's law.


5. If you were going to do this project again, are there any things you would you do differently the next time? If I repeated this project I would use more materials other than metals and see how they interact with the circuit. I could also change the current in the circuit, which in my original experiment had stayed constant. 


6. Did working on this project give you any ideas for other projects? Before I decided to make a project on electricity, I had wanted to experiment with magnets, but after doing this project I wanted to know if different magnets with different strengths will have a different impact on the circuit. If I wanted to test that, I could use a similar set up with my first project but change the materials I used, with magnets of different strengths.


7. How did COVID-19 affect the completion of your project? COVID-19 didn't really have an impact on my project as most of the materials I needed were supplied by my sponsor and the experiment took place a t my home.