You can use these numbers when you introduce a ‘Maxwell Boltzman’ distribution curve. Picture a gas (say, air) at 15 oC
What is the average (mean) speed of the particles in this gas? I bet you can’t guess….
It is a staggering 450m per second!
That said, what is the average (mean) straight line path that these molecules move without colliding?
An unbelievably small 5 x 10 -7 cm! (not even metres!)
So how many times does this mean that these particles collide (on average) per second?
A mind blowing 8,000,000,000 times!
And all this was deduced in 12859 by James Maxwell.
Sourced from my second most favourite book – ‘Science, A History’ by John Gribbin (Published by Allen Lane THe Penguin Press), 1st edition (2002), ISBN 0-140-29741-3