Compressed-Straw Panels Product description

Compressed-straw panels are not new. The process for producing compressed agricultural fiber (CAF) panels was invented in Sweden in 1935 by Theodor Dieden and later developed into a commercial product in Britain under the name Stramit by Torsten Mossesson in the late 1940s. Although the original patents have expired on the technology for producing compressed straw panels, numerous companies using the Stramit process are popular in Europe and Australia.

As revealed during the short-lived U. S. manufacture of Stramit panels, straw is compressed under a high temperature of approx­imately 390°F. The straw fibers become limp and form around each other, essentially “bonding” together without any adhesives. The panels ranged in thickness from 2 to 4" and were faced with heavy-weight kraft paper. Most of the products were prerouted for electrical wiring, and clips were sold to join panels securely together.

Several companies that have produced compressed straw panels and straw core stressed-skin panels have had difficulty continuing operations due to exaggerated R-values, inflated shipping costs, and poor marketing strategies. Nevertheless, cabinet carcasses, carpet underlayment, and interior sheathing products have started to achieve a small market share in the United States. It remains to be seen if a viable straw-based insulation board product will become a mainstay in residential construction.