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Damping adds movement-speed dependent friction to the moving part's motion: it has little effect on slow movements and a lot of effect on fast movements. With less damping, the parts will behave like springs -- if you apply a force to them, they'll move quickly and then return quickly to their centre point, often overshooting them and getting into an oscillating motion. With more damping, they will move less quickly in both directions, overshoot less, and damp the oscillation more quickly.

This is especially apparent when applying a sudden change of force to the part, such as when driving over a bump or touching down when landing. 

Suggested experiment: take a bunch of pistons and use them for landing legs, and make something that goes up in the air and then drops down on them. Set extension to halfway, then tune the motor strength so that when you launch it, it settles down a little. Then launch and land it hard (but not so hard you crash it) with different damping settings.

You will find that with low damping, the pistons will compress more (possibly compressing completely, and if you land too hard breaking off), then spring quickly back, then possibly bounce up and down a bit, whereas with very high damping they'll barely compress at all on the initial jolt (possibly breaking off if you land too hard), and only settle onto them after you've touched down. With optimal damping, the pistons will take the shock of the landing without fully compressing,  then return to their centre position with only minimal bouncing.

The physical systems damping models are things like dampers on a bike's or a car's suspension, for example an oil-filled cylinder with a piston that has holes in it moving in it. Push it slowly and it moves without much resistance; jolt it hard and it will barely move at all. 

More simply put: more damping makes your suspension harder whereas more motor power makes your suspension capable of supporting bigger loads.

Edited by Brikoleur
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