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Device for controlling unwanted motion of a spring-mounted vehicle. On an automobile, the springs act as a cushion between the axles and the body and reduce the shocks produced by a rough road surface. Since some combinations of road surface and car speed may result in excessive up-and-down motion of the car body, shock absorberswhich today are hydraulic devices that oppose both compression and stretching of the springsslow down and reduce the magnitude of these vibratory motions. See alsodamping.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on shock absorber, visit Britannica.com.