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Oriented Split Straw Board – A New Era In Building Products
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org
Citation: Paper number 016076, 2001 ASAE Annual Meeting. (doi: 10.13031/2013.4213) @2001
Authors: Wayne Wasylciw, M. Sc.
Keywords: straw, straw panels, straw splitting machine, oriented strand board, OSB, structural panels
While the utilisation of agricultural residues in panel products has been conducted in many parts of
the world for a long time, this application has only been considered commercially viable in North
America only recently. To date, the various North American operations have been making non-structural
straw panels with a mixed degree of success. Raw material and binder costs plus various
technical challenges are making it difficult to achieve commercial viability.
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A more attractive area for straw-based panels to enter is the structural panel market. Here, the resin
costs are equivalent to wood based panels and the raw material is more cost competitive with round
wood. Making straw-based oriented strand board has proven to be a daunting task however.
Creating an “open” strand, or split tubule, with any degree of length is difficult; a necessary task to
produce structural panels from straw.
The Alberta Research Council’s Forest Products business unit (ARC) has developed a technique
whereby a straw tubule can be sheared longitudinally while maintaining a relatively long “strand”.
The result of this technology is an “opening up” of the straw tube to allow even distribution of the
binder on all strand surfaces. The long strand allows for the development of a high strength to
stiffness ratio. This makes the straw based panel comparable to wood-based oriented strand board
(OSB) in physical properties at comparable densities.
This paper will outline the technique of straw splitting and present physical data on straw-based OSB
panels and straw-wood mixed OSB panels. A comparison in performance to wood-based OSB will
also be conducted.