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mean free path

noun, Physics, Chemistry, (in a collection of moving particles)
the average distance that a particle travels between successive collisions with other particles. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mean free path
  • If the size of the smallest eddies approach the mean free path of the molecule, then continuum is not satisfied.
British Dictionary definitions for mean free path

mean free path

the average distance travelled by a particle, atom, etc, between collisions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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mean free path in Culture

mean free path definition

The average distance that an object (usually an atom or molecule) can move before colliding with something.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for mean free path

average distance an object will move between collisions. The actual distance a particle, such as a molecule in a gas, will move before a collision, called free path, cannot generally be given because its calculation would require knowledge of the path of every particle in the region. The probability (dP) that a molecule will move a distance between two points (x and x + dx) without collision is proportional to an exponential factor; that is, dP = e-x/mudx, in which e is the base of natural logarithms. The constant mu is the mean free path and is the average (mean) distance traveled by a molecule between collisions. The mean free path of an oxygen gas molecule under a pressure of 1 atmosphere at 0 C is about 6 10-6 cm (2 106 inch)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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