What is OSB? 

Oriented strand board (OSB), also known as sterling board, sterling OSB, flakeboard, aspenite, and smartply in British English, is a type of engineered lumber similar to particle board formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands (flakes) in specific orientations. It was invented by Armin Elmendorf, California US in 1963.[1] 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.

 Uses

OSB is a material with high mechanical properties that make it particularly suitable for load-bearing applications in construction.[2] 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.

 Manufacturing

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 resin types typically used include Phenol formaldehyde (PF), melamine fortified Urea Formaldehyde (MUF) or isocyanate (PMDI), all of which are moisture resistant binders. In Europe, it is common to use a combination of binders, typically PMDI would be used in the core and MUF in the face layers and this has the advantage of reducing press cycles whilst imparting a bright appearance to the surface of the panel.

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[citation needed]). 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 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 square metres) of OSB per day.[citation needed]

How OSB Made?

How It's Made: Oriented Strand Board

From the forest to floors or walls, a look at oriented strand board (OSB) Manufacturing—and key environmental opportunities—in four steps.

Harvest the Wood One of the benefits of oriented strand board (OSB) is that it uses small-diameter logs from a fast-growing species chosen for its mill and plant geography, such as Aspen, Southern yellow pine, poplar, or black poplar. Look for manufacturers that work with forests that are managed responsibly (such as FSC- or SFI-certified land) and gather raw materials from a close radius (say, 50 to 150 miles). Once the logs are on site, they are stacked or, in northern areas during colder months, placed in large ponds that are heated by wood burners powered by the mill’s scrap wood. These ponds unfreeze, wash, and soften the logs.


Break it Down Now 
The logs are debarked—bark is often reused as fuel for plant operations—and fed into stranders, where knives in either ring or fan configurations (with perhaps 30 to 50 blades per strander) slice and dice the entire log into strands that are generally 3 to 6 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 0.03 inch thick. No wood is wasted here: Strands are screened to weed out the undesirable, which are fed into wet fuel bins for reuse. Doing this before drying the strands eliminates excess energy use, and OSB plants usually keep a reserve of strands on hand in case a strander goes down for a knife change, so that the line can run continuously.


Strand Together Under Pressure 
After tumbling through a dryer where temperatures may range from 1,500 F at the inlet to 200 F at the outlet, the strands are blended with a concoction of resins and waxes that varies by manufacturer, wood mix, time of year, and other factors. Strands are then layered into 3- to 8-inch-deep mats on a continuous belt that is roughly 8- to 12-feet wide, and the length of these mats are cut to fit a plant’s presses. Environmental controls should clean exhaust air, and wet electrostatic precipitators, high heat, and beds of media may filter out any ash or VOCs before discharge. Then it’s time to press: Mats are baked above 400 F and under pressure—which varies by board thickness, but is generally around 1,300 psi.


Cool It, Cut It, Deliver It 
Coming out of the presses (whose exhaust air is often treated by regenerative catalytic oxidizers or regenerative thermal oxidizers before it is released), the OSB boards are cut to size, with most panels trimmed to 4 feet by 8 feet, and scrap edges and dust reused as fuel sources for the line. Boards may receive modifications such as a radiant barrier or tongue-and-groove cuts. After quality control checks, the boards are then bundled for delivery. 

 

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