Very cool invention and one that could have a range of utility--from rescue mission-type applications to the ultimate adventure zip line, I would think. It really is amazing how much killer stuff comes out of these student engineering competitions. While much of the work doesn't have the right stuff for commercialization, the germ of some pretty compelling innovations have been born from these events and with the right nurturing and financial backing, who knows where they can go.
I agree Beth - student engineering competitons can have some remarkable projects. I have seen some pretty innovative senior projects as a judge for our local colleges as well. Your comment on commercialization matches my experience in that mass-marketing is probably not practical for most projects but the real world experience it gives students is invaluable and you never know who might take an interest in a student design given the right exposure. The engineering requirements were very challenging on this one - Congrats to the BYU team!
I agree, Beth, the germ of some pretty compelling innovations emerges from colleges. Over the weekend, several articles pointed out that the number of Facebook users is now more than 3X the population of the United States, and about two million more than the entire population of Europe. Also, I believe that Bill Gates wrote his first PC OS in the computer lab at Harvard. So, yes, every now and then college students come up with monster ideas.
I swear by two-part 5 minute epoxy and use it thousands of applications, and am impressed by the innovative approach to providing a quick cure with the remote UV lights.But it is still just epoxy – essentially glue – stuck to a concrete wall.Which brings me to my second thought – No safety Net-?! For 'Cripes sake, boys, Its just Epoxy!!Get a safety Net!!
IMO, it is unlikely the students in the video used the epoxy system to anchor the line to the side or top of the building. It was likely the claw-type grappling hook shown briefly in the clip and can be seen in more detail here,
Also, it appears, with the anchor point being well secured on top, that the climber has a counter weigh safety line attached to it (the Cougar mascot) so no real need for a safety net provided the line is in good working order.
The method of an achoring device soley by using an epoxy is, IMO, not entire well thought out. Having worked in the adhesives field for a few years, the surface condition of the substrate plays a critical role for a solid secure bond. Cement, brick, adobe, etc. generally are pretty dirty, dusty, loose surfaces, break easily, etc. To rely on only an adhesive to bond to those types of surfaces in a hostile environment in some desert/mountainous location and be able to withstand a tensile and/or shear stress at the level specified will result in lives lost.
But, that what makes Engineering interesting and the point of the exercise. How would you overvcome this?
Also, the theoretical technology was (visually) predated by Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) with Luke using a grappling device that somehow bonded (magnetic/adhesive/thermal/atomic, who knows?) to the bottom of an AT-AT from which, after reeling himself up, blew open the bottom hatch with his light saber and tossed in a grenade.
Some more detail would have been interesting, i.e. if the surface was vertical or horizontal? what the surface was made of and how they overcame the surface detritus, wet conditions etc.
Many years ago we made a TV commercial for Plastic Padding Super Epoxy and stuck a 4" dia plate to the roof of a small car and then winched it 30 ft in the air within 11 minutes (10 min cure time, from memory!). It worked, but we had prepared both surfaces very carefully, reinforced the roof etc. It had to work as we had an inspector from the advertising standards watching with his stop watch!
Batman rocks and his hook were not made out of glue.... and yes a net or a second line attached to a bolt on the wall is strongly recommended. And what's up with the slow ascent? No supper powered penny sized servo motor that can lift you up at 5-10 m/s?? Just kidding you guys are impressive, a little nuts but mostly impressive.
I also noticed that they were not ascending very quickly, which could work for some covert operations, I suppose. But the mechanism for delivering and attaching the epoxy has to be the biggest challenge by far. In fact, I would have much rather seen how that part was done, if it was done at all. The truely instant adhesives that I have seen would be much more challenging to use, since they are not very selective about what they will adhere to.
As for the safety concerns of those who are chained to their fears: Go back to your desk and sit down and don't watch. You certainly don't add anything new to the discussion, nor anything worthwhile.
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