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The resistance of an object also depends on temperature, since R 0 size 12{R rSub { size 8{0} } } {} is directly proportional to ρ size 12{ρ} {} . For a cylinder we know R = ρL / A size 12{R=ρL/A} {} , and so, if L size 12{L} {} and A size 12{A} {} do not change greatly with temperature, R size 12{R} {} will have the same temperature dependence as ρ size 12{ρ} {} . (Examination of the coefficients of linear expansion shows them to be about two orders of magnitude less than typical temperature coefficients of resistivity, and so the effect of temperature on L size 12{L} {} and A size 12{A} {} is about two orders of magnitude less than on ρ size 12{ρ} {} .) Thus,

R = R 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) size 12{R = R rSub { size 8{0} } \( "1 "+ αΔT \) } {}

is the temperature dependence of the resistance of an object, where R 0 size 12{R rSub { size 8{0} } } {} is the original resistance and R size 12{R} {} is the resistance after a temperature change Δ T size 12{DT} {} . Numerous thermometers are based on the effect of temperature on resistance. (See [link] .) One of the most common is the thermistor, a semiconductor crystal with a strong temperature dependence, the resistance of which is measured to obtain its temperature. The device is small, so that it quickly comes into thermal equilibrium with the part of a person it touches.

A photograph showing two digital thermometers used for measuring body temperature.
These familiar thermometers are based on the automated measurement of a thermistor’s temperature-dependent resistance. (credit: Biol, Wikimedia Commons)

Calculating resistance: hot-filament resistance

Although caution must be used in applying ρ = ρ 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) size 12{ρ = ρ rSub { size 8{0} } \( "1 "+ αΔT \) } {} and R = R 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) size 12{R = R rSub { size 8{0} } \( "1 "+ αΔT \) } {} for temperature changes greater than 100º C size 12{"100"°"C"} {} , for tungsten the equations work reasonably well for very large temperature changes. What, then, is the resistance of the tungsten filament in the previous example if its temperature is increased from room temperature ( 20ºC ) to a typical operating temperature of 2850º C size 12{"2850"°"C"} {} ?


This is a straightforward application of R = R 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) size 12{R = R rSub { size 8{0} } \( "1 "+ αΔT \) } {} , since the original resistance of the filament was given to be R 0 = 0 . 350 Ω size 12{R rSub { size 8{0} } =0 "." "350"` %OMEGA } {} , and the temperature change is Δ T = 2830º C size 12{ΔT="2830"°"C"} {} .


The hot resistance R size 12{R} {} is obtained by entering known values into the above equation:

R = R 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) = ( 0 . 350 Ω ) [ 1 + ( 4.5 × 10 –3 / ºC ) ( 2830º C ) ] = 4.8 Ω.


This value is consistent with the headlight resistance example in Ohm’s Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits .

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Phet explorations: resistance in a wire

Learn about the physics of resistance in a wire. Change its resistivity, length, and area to see how they affect the wire's resistance. The sizes of the symbols in the equation change along with the diagram of a wire.

Resistance in a Wire

Section summary

  • The resistance R size 12{R} {} of a cylinder of length L size 12{L} {} and cross-sectional area A size 12{A} {} is R = ρL A size 12{R = { {ρL} over {A} } } {} , where ρ size 12{ρ} {} is the resistivity of the material.
  • Values of ρ size 12{ρ} {} in [link] show that materials fall into three groups— conductors, semiconductors, and insulators .
  • Temperature affects resistivity; for relatively small temperature changes Δ T size 12{DT} {} , resistivity is ρ = ρ 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) size 12{ρ = ρ rSub { size 8{0} } \( "1 "+ αΔT \) } {} , where ρ 0 size 12{ρ rSub { size 8{0} } } {} is the original resistivity and α is the temperature coefficient of resistivity.
  • [link] gives values for α size 12{α} {} , the temperature coefficient of resistivity.
  • The resistance R size 12{R} {} of an object also varies with temperature: R = R 0 ( 1 + α Δ T ) size 12{R = R rSub { size 8{0} } \( "1 "+ ΔαT \) } {} , where R 0 size 12{R rSub { size 8{0} } } {} is the original resistance, and R is the resistance after the temperature change.

Conceptual questions

In which of the three semiconducting materials listed in [link] do impurities supply free charges? (Hint: Examine the range of resistivity for each and determine whether the pure semiconductor has the higher or lower conductivity.)

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Questions & Answers

what there factors affect the surface tension of a liquid
Promise Reply
formula for impedance
muyiwa Reply
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Jonathan Reply
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Victoria Reply
ohms law state that the electricity passing through a metallic conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference across its end
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folajin Reply
Anything that occupies space
Any thing that has weight and occupies space
Anything which we can feel by any of our 5 sense organs
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any answers
the time rate of increase in velocity is called
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What is uniform velocity
Greetings,users of that wonderful app.
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can someone derive the formula a little bit deeper?
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forces acting and lying on d same plane
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Peace Reply
How does a current follow?
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which one dc or ac current.
how does a current following?
AC current
AC current follows due to changing electric field and magnetic field.
you guys are just saying follow is flow not follow please
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but i wanted to understand him/her in his own language
but I think the statement is written in English not any other language
my mean that in which form he/she written this,will understand better in this form, i write.
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what is a semiconductor
Vineeta Reply
substances having lower forbidden gap between valence band and conduction band
what is a conductor?
replace lower by higher only
convert 56°c to kelvin
How does a current follow?
A semiconductor is any material whose conduction lies between that of a conductor and an insulator.
what is Atom? what is molecules? what is ions?
Abubakar Reply
atoms are the smallest unit of an element which is capable of behaving as a single unit
a molecule is d smallest unit of a substances capable of independent existence and can also retain the chemical proper ties of that substance
an ion is referred to as freely moving charged particles
What is a molecule
Samuel Reply
Is a unit of a compound that has two or more atoms either of the same or different atoms
A molecule is the smallest indivisible unit of a compound, Just like the atom is the smallest indivisible unit of an element.
what is a molecule?
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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