Minicel® M200 Foam Helps Virginia Tech

LAWRENCE, MA (December 21, 2006) – Once again, Sekisui Voltek, LLC was a key contributor to Virginia Tech’s Baja Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Team. Each year, the Virginia Tech Baja SAE team designs and constructs a one-passenger, off-road vehicle intended for the Baja SAE competitions. The Baja SAE competitions are designed to test and evaluate vehicle design as well as manufacturing and consumer appeal. The program’s aim is to replicate a real-life engineering problem which allows students to experience working in a team environment to solve a real-world challenge – in this case to define the specifications for a one passenger, off-road vehicle. The teams are evaluated on their ability to create a total engineering solution, including design, build, report, test, and racing. Entrants are evaluated on cost, design, and placement in a series of two demanding events.

A critical element of the competition is flotation during the water portion of this rigorous one hundred mile endurance race. To solve the floatation problem in the 2006 competition, students at Virginia Tech used Minicel® M200 foam, a donation from Sekisui Voltek, LLC., for their amphibious off-road vehicle.

Sekisui Voltek is a global leader in the development of cross-linked, closed-cell polyolefin foams for various applications, such as automotive components, appliances, telecommunications, consumer equipment, and toys, as well as leisure and sports equipment.

The closed-cell Minicel M200 foam is lightweight and durable, providing excellent flotation as well as the ability to stand up to the rigors of the competition. During construction, the foam was laid out and shaped around the car, then attached to the vehicle. The capabilities of the design and the foam were tested at nearby Claytor Lake. The combination of the Minicel M200 foam and the design of the fenders gave the Virginia Tech Baja SAE team one of the fastest cars in the water.

During the East competition, held in Auburn, AL, the Virginia Tech Baja SAE team placed third in cost and tenth in design as well as placing 26th out of 62 vehicles. In the more demanding Midwest competition, held in Elkhorn, WI, the vehicle placed 62nd out of 168 vehicles.

“As student engineers emerging into the working world, the knowledge we gain from this program allows us to apply what we learn in classes to a project that is very similar to one a professional engineer would encounter,” Rachael Crownover, team member, Virginia Tech Baja SAE team, said. “The donations we receive help us develop technical and interpersonal skills that are critical towards us growing as engineers.”

“Sekisui Voltek embraces a corporate policy that acknowledges the utmost importance of minimizing environmental impact, providing a safe workplace for our employees, and serving our communities, both local and global,” Brian Norris, president, Sekisui Voltek, said. “We are pleased to support the next generation of engineers as they expand their knowledge of fabrication techniques.”

Sekisui Voltek offers three main product lines: Volara®, Volextra® and Minicel®. Within each of them, Sekisui Voltek can modify elements like resin selection, additives, foaming technologies, cross-linking parameters, density and thickness to achieve the performance parameters customers need.


Sekisui Voltek, LLC, a part of the worldwide network of Sekisui companies, is a global leader in the development and production of cross-linked, closed-cell polyolefin foams. For over 35 years, Sekisui Voltek’s innovative foam solutions have been used for a wide variety of applications within the transportation, tape and healthcare, building and construction, sports and leisure, and general industrial markets. Sekisui Voltek has three primary foam processes; Volara – irradiation cross-linked polyolefin foam in roll, and laminated sheet form, Volextra – an extrusion coated Volara composite and Minicel – a chemically cross-inked foam in bun form.