To damp is to apply a force to an oscillating body so as to reduce the amplitude of its oscillation. This will eventually stop its motion altogether. It is interesting to note that when an oscillating body decreases in amplitude, its frequency stays the same. It is completing the same number of oscillations per second as before, so it is moving more slowly.

One application of damping is in car suspensions. If cars were undamped they would oscillate pretty much continuously as soon as they hit anything like a stone or a speed bump, with obvious implications for comfort and safety. Cars are in practice damped to complete about one oscillation every time they start to wobble.

Damp (?), n. [Akin to LG., D., & Dan. damp vapor, steam, fog, G. dampf, Icel. dampi, Sw. damb dust, and to MNG. dimpfen to smoke, imp. dampf.]

1.

Moisture; humidity; fog; fogginess; vapor.

Night . . . with black air
Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom.
Milton.

2.

Dejection; depression; cloud of the mind.

Even now, while thus I stand blest in thy presence,
A secret damp of grief comes o'er my soul.
Addison.

It must have thrown a damp over your autumn excursion.
J. D. Forbes.

3. Mining

A gaseous product, formed in coal mines, old wells, pints, etc.

Choke damp, a damp consisting principally of carbonic acid gas; -- so called from its extinguishing flame and animal life. See Carbonic acid, under Carbonic. -- Damp sheet, a curtain in a mine gallery to direct air currents and prevent accumulation of gas. -- Fire damp, a damp consisting chiefly of light carbureted hydrogen; -- so called from its tendence to explode when mixed with atmospheric air and brought into contact with flame.

 

© Webster 1913.


Damp (?), a. [Compar. Damper (?); superl. Dampest.]

1.

Being in a state between dry and wet; moderately wet; moist; humid.

O'erspread with a damp sweat and holy fear.
Dryden.

2.

Dejected; depressed; sunk.

[R.]

All these and more came flocking, but with looks
Downcast and damp.
Milton.

 

© Webster 1913.


Damp, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Damped (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Damping.] [OE. dampen to choke, suffocate. See Damp, n.]

1.

To render damp; to moisten; to make humid, or moderately wet; to dampen; as, to damp cloth.

2.

To put out, as fire; to depress or deject; to deaden; to cloud; to check or restrain, as action or vigor; to make dull; to weaken; to discourage.

"To damp your tender hopes."

Akenside.

Usury dulls and damps all industries, improvements, and new inventions, wherein money would be stirring if it were not for this slug.
Bacon.

How many a day has been damped and darkened by an angry word!
Sir J. Lubbock.

The failure of his enterprise damped the spirit of the soldiers.
Macaulay.

 

© Webster 1913.

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