Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Bryard Wood


Bryard Wood


J. Steven Hansen


Ling Liu


The Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber or PVAC for short (as shown in Fig 2) is a new means for climbing walls. Unlike ordinary climbing methods used today, the PVAC scales walls via suction. This suction is produced by three spinning impellers within each vacuum motor, which removes air from a sealed area. A climber pulls down on a vacuum pressure release mechanism to release the vacuum. Foot stirrups are used by the climber to climb to the next higher step. This allows the strength of the climber's legs to lift his/her body reducing arm fatigue, allowing rapid ascension of any climbable wall.

The overall desirables to accomplish in this project are to make a new system that is:

  • Lightweight
  • Improved ergonomics
  • Easy to manufacture and produce
  • Quieter

These items were accomplished by using design tools such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA), Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), preexisting studies (ergonomics), and testing techniques.

Tests were conducted to ensure that the new PVAC is operating to safe standards. These tests will be looked at in the following areas:

  • Sound Reduction
  • Battery Voltage Profile
  • Temperature Analysis
  • Vacuum Motor Performance
  • Friction Coefficient Experiments

Lastly, future applications and new improvements were addressed so next generation systems can be made if further development ensues.