3 Reasons Why Santa Should Switch to FRP

Every year on December 24th, Santa Claus sets out in a trusty wooden sleigh to traverse the entire globe in a single night. It is a difficult journey that is fraught with environmental challenges. Sub-zero temperatures, significant wind speeds, and the abrasive impacts of frequent landings can all take their toll on even the sturdiest of sleighs. However, material engineering has advanced significantly in the centuries since Santa started the noble tradition of delivering gifts to children.

Wood might have been the manufacturer’s material of choice in the 18th Century, but innovations in lightweight composites could help Santa reach more and more children in a growing global population. Fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) in particular represent the perfect material for an annual round-the-world trip through severe conditions.

Strongwell’s Christmas list is dedicated to the four main reasons why Santa should switch to FRP for a brand-new sleigh.

  1. FRP: Performance in Cold Conditions

Santa’s difficult journey begins at the North Pole, where temperatures in Winter can dip to as low as -40°F (-40°C). It is very difficult for wood to withstand such extreme conditions, even when treated against the cold. Compounding this challenge is the fact that the sleigh will pass through every conceivable climate on the planet in a single 24-hour period. Rapid freezing and thawing may cause the sleigh to expand and contract, which would force the fibers apart and cause the sleigh to crack.

The structural implications of cracks and fractures are doubled when factoring for the speed required to travel around the world and the potential propagation of damage from frequent landing impacts. An FRP sleigh could conceivably outperform a wooden one by several factors of magnitude due to the material’s unique performance in arctic conditions and superior resistance to thermal cycling.

  1. Outstanding Weather Resistance of FRP

The sleigh is also subjected to sustained weathering effects that vary dramatically across the world. Rain and condensation from clouds may permeate the wood and cause it to gradually rot, which would require extensive maintenance to treat and repair. Similarly, high wind speeds could damage the sleigh’s bodywork. The difficulty herein is that increasing the strength and corrosion-resistant properties of the sleigh would typically make it heavier and slower.

FRP overcomes this issue by providing the best weight-to-strength ratio of any structural material currently on the market. It is more resistant to weathering impacts such as wind and rain than wood and is actually lighter on a pound for pound basis. This switch could also accelerate the Christmas Eve journey, with the added ethical benefit of lightening the reindeers' load.

  1. Impact and Abrasion Resistance of FRP

FRP is not the only material to have emerged since Santa started delivering gifts to children. The landscape of urban centers and even remote rural homes has changed dramatically. Rooftops are now more commonly made of concrete than thatch, which may cause abrasive damage to the runners of the sleigh. FRP comprehensively exceeds wood with regards to impact and abrasion resistance. Strongwell’s EXTREN® structural shapes are much stronger than wood with a good modulus of elasticity for absorbing impacts, ensuring Santa can land at speed and in comfort.

Festive FRP Products from Strongwell

Strongwell is the world’s leading authority in FRP products for all applications. We have had a wonderful year in which our business has gone from strength to strength, and we would love to share that joy with you. Contact us if you need FRP products for demanding applications.

Otherwise, have a very Merry Christmas! Be sure to check back in with us in the New Year for more content about FRP products and areas of application.