This work introduces the concept of a brush-based tractor used for rescue
in collapsed buildings or tunnels. The paper presents the bristle theory and traction experiments relating to a robot, which uses a sensor system for detecting the shapes of pipes or tunnel like voids within rubble. Traction experiments in the laboratory were used to investigate the characteristics of bristles and the
performance of the brush units of different shapes. The experimental results are discussed in the paper and related to a single bristle theory with a view to giving guidance for the design of a future brush based rescue robot in debris.