Lightweight Garage #12 Lightweight sled runners @ Santa Claus´ sleigh (Mark V)

December 21, 2021
by Florian Wätzold & Raffael Stratz

The Vehicle

It is said that Santa's sleigh was first noted exactly one hundred years ago. Designed and built by the elf tuning team at the North Pole and pulled by up to nine reindeers, this vehicle makes it possible to deliver to the well-behaved children of the world on Christmas Day.

©Hartwig KHD, Christmas Boycott, CC BY-ND 2.0

In addition to the most innovative navigation and assistance systems on the market and the traditional racing colour Polar Red (also with metallic option), the strictly confidential propulsion system the sleigh has also lightweight applications.

The major benchmarking providers estimate that Santa Claus delivers to approximately 100 to 200 million households in 31 hours, resulting in an average speed above 3,000 to 10,000 times the speed of sound. If the presents per household weigh a total of 5 kg, a maximum take-off weight of 500,000 or 1,000,000 t must be assumed, whereby centripetal forces occur which exceed the earth's gravitational pull by an order of magnitude of more than 10⁴.

If an average of three packages measuring each 40cm x 40cm x 40cm are delivered to each household and if the packages are stacked on the sledge in a ratio of 2:1:1, this results in a length of circa 490 m and a width and height of circa 245 m for the minimal loading area. Now we also have an idea why it is dark, when Santa delivers the gifts.

Against the background of the high mass and forces, light measures must be taken here as well, especially to avoid displacements in our solar system. In the first part of the project, we therefore optimized the skids.

The Lightweighting

Since the mobile teleporter is still being approved and the gifts must be kept ready on board, it has been decided at system level to provide for uncoupling of the loading area. In this way, the sledge mass can be reduced during use. There are still two variants being tested. Either the transport module will be divided into eight parts, so that one reindeer can fly back with each 11,250 km transport module, or these will be burned up in the auxiliary drive to further increase speed.

Customers worldwide want the traditional "carriage with reindeers" design. Since, as is generally known, the carriage can fly, the reindeers were merely a design element for decades. Now they have been given a load-bearing function in the truest sense of the word. To ensure that the above-mentioned payload does not lead to inadmissible deflection of the loading area, it is supported on the outside by a flexurally rigid frame. The rigid frame is in turn connected to the skids via a truss. The increased bending stiffness achieved in this way, by increasing the Steiner component, allows the bending-resistant frame to be downsized.

©Elke Wetzig, Flax fibers, CC BY-SA 3.0

Even, or rather especially, at the North Pole, people are striving to reduce their ecological footprint and contribute to minimising climate change. Therefore, the decision was made to use natural fibre-reinforced plastic profiles manufactured in an extrusion process. Upcycling is done with worn flax rods from Knecht Ruprecht.

One thing we can already reveal - all payload increases will already be exploited this year with more presents. A Merry Christmas!


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