Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


The Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC) system built in 2012 by the Ascending Aggies at Utah State University which was designed using vacuum motors to provide suction to pads to allow the user to climb various surfaces, needs to be further developed before being fully marketable. The current system does not have a user-friendly interface and is very loud (approx. 90 dB). These issues were addressed to answer the following question: how can the current PV AC system be optimized to decrease noise and produce a user friendly interface while maintaining current run time? To obtain the sound reduction desired it was decided to surround the motors with a hard plastic polystyrene case created by a vacuum forming process and then lined with sound-reducing convoluted foam. The motor exhaust was channeled through a single muffler out of the bottom of the case. This resulted in a sound reduction of over 20 decibels. The power system was improved with a new choice of 36 volt motors which could each be run off of only four batteries or an AC power supply through an inverter. The batterie s used in this system increased run time by 50% and decreased the overall weight of the previous system by 8 lbs. This choice of motors was found to supply in excess the needed suction to support a 300 lb. person. A Pulse Width modulator was also installed to provide a control on Voltage output of the batteries to optimize the run time. A pressure gauge and Voltmeter were installed to provide a user interface with a display on the pads of the system showing the remaining battery voltage and pad suction pressure.



Faculty Mentor

B. D. Wood

Departmental Honors Advisor

V. Dean Adams