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In-pipe robots are used to carry sensors and some other repairing instruments to perform inspection and maintenance jobs inside pipelines. In this paper, a self-locking mechanism is presented to improve the traction ability of in-pipe robots and avoid their traditional limitations. The structure of this type of in-pipe robot is presented and some critical design issues on the principle of self-locking mechanism are discussed. Prototypes of 19 mm diameter were produced, and related experiments were performed on specially designed test platform. The traction ability of the proposed in-pipe robot was measured experimentally to be 15.2 N, far beyond its maximum static friction of 0.35 N with the inner surface of pipeline. It means that this development has broken the traditional limitation of in-pipe robot whose traction ability was smaller than its maximum static friction with the pipeline.