Oriented strand board (OSB) is a type of engineered wood 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 in California in 1963.[1] OSB may have a rough and variegated surface with the individual strips of around 2.5 cm × 15 cm (1.0 by 5.9 inches), lying unevenly across each other, and is produced in a variety of types and thicknesses.

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The resins used to create OSB have raised questions regarding the potential for OSB to emit volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. Urea-formaldehyde is more toxic and should be avoided in home use. Phenol-formaldehyde products are considered to be relatively hazard-free. Some newer types of OSB, so-called “new-generation” OSB panels, use isocyanate resins that do not contain formaldehyde and are considered nonvolatile when cured. Industry trade groups assert that formaldehyde emissions from North American OSB are “negligible or nonexistent”.

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


OSB is a material with favorable mechanical properties that make it particularly suitable for load-bearing applications in construction. It is now more popular than plywood, commanding 66% of the structural panel market. 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 laminated to one side; this eases installation and increases energy performance of the building envelope. OSB is also used in furniture production.