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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

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.

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.

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