Christmas is approaching and Santa Claus is getting our presents ready, but have you ever wondered how efficiently Santa flies over our skies? ANSYS did ask this question and analyzed the famous sleigh.
The well-known software for engineering simulations, ANSYS partnered up with Popular Science, a science magazine founded back in 1972, to analyze Santa’s sleigh. This awesome aircraft should be quite efficient since it stops in every house on Earth in a single night; but is it really? ANSYS set up a model to perform a flight simulation, with some conservative assumptions, like the speed of the sleigh being equal to the one of a commercial aircraft. The results aren’t surprising, since it was found that the traditional sleigh has quite a high drag due to its irregular shape (Rudolph should be abnormally strong to push it).
The analysis didn’t stop there, since the question at that point became: what is the shape the sleigh should have to fly more efficiently? First of all, a smoother shape with rounder corners looking more like an airplane would help A LOT. This would reduce drag considerably and allow Santa to travel at supersonic speed.
Simulations are a powerful tool that can even help Santa deliver gifts more efficiently around the globe.
Credits: Grush, L. (2014, December 22). Redesigning Santa’s Sleigh For Aerodynamic Efficiency. Popular Science. https://www.popsci.com/why-santas-sleigh-poorly-designed-aerodynamic-efficiency/