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Oriented strand board

This article is about the particle board. For the Christian religious orders, see [[OSB (disambiguation)#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.OSB]].
File:Courtabœuf 2011 076.jpg
OSB is easily identifiable by its characteristic wood strands

Oriented strand board (OSB), also known as sterling board, sterling OSB, aspenite, and smartply in British English, is an engineered wood particle board formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands (flakes) in specific orientations. OSB may have a rough and variegated surface with the individual strips of around 2.5 × 15 cm (1" × 6"), lying unevenly across each other and comes in a variety of types and thicknesses.


OSB is used heavily in housing construction

OSB is a material with high mechanical properties that make it particularly suitable for load-bearing applications in construction.[1] The most common uses are as sheathing in walls, flooring, and roof decking. For exterior wall applications, panels are available with a radiant-barrier layer pre-laminated to one side; this eases installation and increases energy performance of the building envelope. OSB also sees some use in furniture production.

OSB2 is a precision-engineered board for structural use in load-bearing dry conditions. It is a versatile alternative to plywood, it is ideal for a variety of uses from temporary fencing (site hoarding) to display stands, sheds to shelving.[2]

OSB3 is a precision-engineered structural board for use in load-bearing humid conditions. OSB3 is suitable for: timber frame housing; flat and pitched roofs; wall sheathing; flooring; portable buildings; caravans; and agricultural buildings.[3]


File:OSB production.jpg
OSB in production before gluing in a thermal press.

Oriented strand board is manufactured in wide mats from cross-oriented layers of thin, rectangular wooden strips compressed and bonded together with wax and synthetic resin adhesives (95% wood, 5% wax and resin).[citation needed] The layers are created by shredding the wood into strips, which are sifted and then oriented on a belt or wire cauls. The mat is made in a forming line. Wood strips on the external layers are aligned to the panel's strength axis, while internal layers are perpendicular. The number of layers placed is determined partly by the thickness of the panel but is limited by the equipment installed at the manufacturing site. Individual layers can also vary in thickness to give different finished panel thicknesses (typically, a 15 cm layer will produce a 15 mm panel thickness). The mat is placed in a thermal press to compress the flakes and bond them by heat activation and curing of the resin that has been coated on the flakes. Individual panels are then cut from the mats into finished sizes. Most of the world's OSB is made in the United States and Canada in large production facilities. The largest production facilities can make over Script error: No such module "convert". of OSB per day.[citation needed]


In 2005, Canadian production was Script error: No such module "convert".(38" basis) of which Script error: No such module "convert".( 3⁄8" basis) was exported, almost entirely to the United States. [4] In 2014, Romania became the largest OSB exporting country in Europe, with 28% of the exports going to Russia and 16% to Ukraine. [5]


OSB, closeup of corner

Adjustments to the manufacturing process can impart differences in thickness, panel size, strength, and rigidity. OSB panels have no internal gaps or voids, and are water-resistant, although they do require additional membranes to achieve impermeability to water and are not recommended for exterior use. The finished product has properties similar to plywood, but is uniform and cheaper.[6] When tested to failure, OSB has a greater load-bearing capacity than milled wood panels.[7] It has replaced plywood in many environments, especially the North American structural panel market.

While OSB does not have a continuous grain like a natural wood, it does have an axis along which its strength is greatest. This can be seen by observing the alignment of the surface wood chips.

All wood-based structural use panels can be cut and installed with the same ease and types of equipment used with solid wood.

The resins used to create OSB have raised questions regarding the potential for OSB to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde. However, industry trade groups assert that formaldehyde emissions from North American OSB are "negligible or nonexistent".[8]

Some manufacturers treat the wood chips with various borate compounds which are toxic to termites, wood boring beetles, molds, and fungi, but not mammals in applied doses.


Four grades of OSB are defined in EN 300 in terms of their mechanical performance and relative resistance to moisture.[9]

  • OSB/1 - General purpose boards and boards for interior fitments (including furniture) for use in dry conditions.
  • OSB/2 - Load-bearing boards for use in dry conditions.
  • OSB/3 - Load-bearing boards for use in humid conditions
  • OSB/4 - Heavy-duty load-bearing boards for use in humid conditions.


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