First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this project:
• A 6 or 12 volt lantern battery
• A length of wire with alligator clips attached to each end
• Very fine iron wire – about 5 to 6 inches long
• Adult supervision
Are you ready? Let’s get started. First, attach one of the alligator clips to one of the battery terminals. Attach one end of the iron wire to the other terminal on the battery. Next, attach the other alligator clip to the iron wire making sure that the clip is as far away from the terminal as possible.
What happened? Did you blow a fuse? If you didn’t, move the clip on the iron wire a little closer to the battery and watch to see what happens. Keep repeating this process until the fuse blows but use caution because the wire gets VERY hot.
Why/how would the fuse blow? Fine iron wire is a good conductor of electricity. When you attach the alligator clip to the iron wire, the voltage of the battery pushes electrons through the circuit against the resistance of the wire causing the wire to heat up. As you move the clip closer to the battery, the resistance in the wire decreases. Since the resistance in the wire is lower, more current flows and the wire heats up more and more eventually melting the wire.
Here is another other idea that you could do to change up the project a little bit and see what happens. You could try this project using pieces of aluminum foil ¼ inch wide by 6 inches long. When the aluminum gets hot you will see an array of various colors.
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