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damp

damp, in mining, any mixture of gases in an underground mine, especially oxygen-deficient or noxious gases. The term damp probably is derived from the German dampf, meaning fog or vapor. Several distinct types of damp are recognized. Firedamp is methane and other flammable gases, often mixed with air; it results from the decomposition of coal or other carbonaceous materials. Explosive mixtures of firedamp with air usually contain from 1% to 14% methane. The mixture of gases that remains after a firedamp explosion is called afterdamp; it consists chiefly of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Chokedamp is any mixture of oxygen-deficient mine gases that causes suffocation. (In England, carbon dioxide is called chokedamp.) Several methods are used for detection of damps. The Davy safety lamp is one of the earliest detection devices. The color and height of the lamp flame indicate the amount of firedamp present; if the flame is extinguished, chokedamp is present. Canaries were formerly kept in mines; the birds are overcome by relatively small quantities of noxious gases, and their death warned the miners of the presence of damps. Special colorimetric detectors are now used. The methanometer is a special portable instrument used to detect firedamp.

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damp

damp / damp/ • adj. slightly wet: hair still damp from the shower. • n. 1. moisture diffused through the air or a solid substance or condensed on a surface, typically with detrimental or unpleasant effects. ∎  foul, stifling, or poisonous gas, esp. in a mine. ∎  (damps) archaic damp air or atmosphere. 2. archaic a check or discouragement. • v. [tr.] 1. make (something) slightly wet: damp a small area with water. 2. control or restrain (a feeling or a state of affairs): she tried to damp down her feelings of despair. ∎  make (a fire) burn less strongly by reducing the flow of air to it. 3. restrict the amplitude of vibrations on (a piano or other musical instrument) so as to reduce sound. ∎  Physics progressively reduce the amplitude of (an oscillation or vibration): concrete structures damp out any vibrations. ∎  reduce the level of (a noise or sound). DERIVATIVES: damp·ish adj. damp·ly adv. damp·ness n.

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damp

damp vapour, (noxious) gas XIV; fog, mist; humidity; depression, discouragement, †stupor XVI. — (M)LG. damp vapour, steam, smoke = (O)HG. dampf steam; rel. to OHG. dempfen (G. dämpfen) = OS. bithempian; f. Gmc. *þamp- (rel. to *pump-, (O)HG. duft).
Hence damp adj. †dazed XVI; †noxious; slightly wet XVIII. damp vb. XIV. dampen XVII; see -EN 2.

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damping

damping A slowing down or prevention of oscillation due to the dissipation of the kinetic energy of oscillation. Friction will dampen a mechanical system, and electromagnetic damping uses eddy currents to oppose motion. See also CRITICAL DAMPING.

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damp

damp damp something down control or restrain a feeling or a situation (originally, in literal use, make a fire burn less strongly by reducing the flow of air to it).
damp squib a situation or event which is much less impressive than expected.

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damp

damp. To check the vibrations of an instr. (e.g. kettledrum) by touching it in some way. See also piano.

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damp

dampamp, camp, champ, clamp, cramp, damp, encamp, gamp, lamp, ramp, samp, scamp, stamp, tamp, tramp, vamp •firedamp • headlamp • wheel clamp •sidelamp • spotlamp • blowlamp •sunlamp •hemp, kemp, temp •blimp, chimp, crimp, gimp, imp, limp, pimp, primp, scrimp, shrimp, simp, skimp, wimp •chomp, clomp, comp, pomp, romp, stomp, swamp, tromp, whomp, yomp •bump, chump, clump, crump, dump, flump, frump, gazump, grump, hump, jump, lump, outjump, plump, pump, rump, scrump, slump, stump, sump, thump, trump, tump, ump, whump •ski-jump • showjump • handpump •mugwump

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