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Temperature coefficient of resistance

Using a sample of iron wire you measure the temperature coefficient of resistance. By plotting a graph of temperature against resistance you will then be able to determine the temperature coefficient. This can be using a Wheatstone Bridge, or a digital ohm meter if preferred.

Surface tension: capillary rise

The aim of this investigation is observing the capillary rise of water in capillary tubes and extending this to determine the surface tension of water.  This will test students measuring skills and get them to discuss errors in measurements too.

Stress investigation: polarised light

This investigation looks at seeing the stress concentrations in a variety of objects using polarised light.  It would work well when looking at material properties and uses basic equipment.

Speed of sound: resonance tube

A different investigation to calculate the speed of sound in air using an air column in a tube.  Very easy to set up and take measurements, which is ideal for a class practical.

Spectrum of a gas

The aim of this investigation is to measure the wavelengths in a spectrum of gas e.g. sodium or cadmium. It is expected that the students will calculate the wavelengths of a number of lines in the first order spectrum.

Specific heat capacity of water

The aim of this investigation is to measure the specific heat capacity of water, building on GCSE work.  The focus can be on sources of error and you can also look at finding the SHC of other liquids, or seeing if altering the mass affects the results.


This is a variation on the standing waves investigation and follows a similar set up.  You investigate the connection between the tension, length and frequency of a stretched wire.

Searles bar: thermal conductivity of copper

This investigation fits in well in material properties where you can investigate and determine the thermal conductivity of a good conductor such as copper.  Searle’s Bar apparatus is required for this, but you could develop your own by looking at CLEAPPS for advice.

Resistivity of metal wires

This builds on from GCSE work on resistance to investigate the resistivity of a series of metals in the form of wires.  This is common and simple investigation where students can look at developing their measuring skills, especially with calculating the area of the wires.

Radius of gyration

In this investigation you roll a cylinder down a slope to see how altering the inclination of the slope affects its speed to calculate the radius the gyration (k) from the given equation. This would fit in well to circular motion.


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