Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, is supporting “Mission Icefox” – a trip by the extreme athletes Mike Fuchs and Eric Folz on an approximately four-week expedition to the northernmost point of the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The two athletes are using an expedition sled, Pulka, as a less strenuous means of transportation that has strong resilience under Artic conditions with low weight. Its basis is formed by Ticona’s unidirectional Celstran CFR-TP tapes.
The 560km ski tour, from Longyearbyen to Verlegenhuken at the northernmost point on Spitsbergen and back, is scheduled to cover 23 days, probably up to April 22, and initially takes the two adventurers towards the North Pole at temperatures of down to -45°C. The two adventurers have to anticipate encounters with polar bears as well as the frequent blizzards at this time of the year.
“We are sure to reach our limits now and then. These may be physical limits or limits imposed by nature and its effects. That’s why we collaborated closely with the manufacturers Acapulka and Stükerjürgen in developing the concept of the sled: low weight, high stiffness and strength as well as optimum impact strength at very low temperatures down to -40°C are decisive to the success of our project. And of course good glide characteristics at all temperatures and on the vastly differing forms of snow and ice that occur.” Said Mr Folz, who is also an engineer at Ticona.
The shell of the Pulka sled was made from unidirectional Celstran CFR-TP tapes. It is 170cm long and 63cm wide. The load volume under the cover is 600L. The runners are made from GUR UHMW-PE, a special polyethylene that is shatterproof and scratch resistant even under extreme stresses while maintaining good glide characteristics. All the Pulka components were designed for optimum support for the expedition participants.