Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Thomas Mackin


We present the design and fabrication of a prototype wall-climbing vehicle employing a unique combined locomotion and adhesion system in which the adhesive vacuum is transmitted through moving, perforated treads. Implementing the adhesion/drive system involved a broad range of design challenges, including: developing reliable sealing of sliding and static interfaces, understanding the frictional interactions between the drive treads and various vehicle components and surfaces on which they ride, as well as designing for lightness, manufacturability, and adjustability. The clean sheet design presented in this thesis was taken from concept to functioning prototype in less than 6 months, requiring a considered mix of off-the-shelf components, custom fabrication, and outsourced production. Proof of concept testing is reviewed, including static pressure and force results as well as dynamic vertical surface maneuverability trials.