Development of Structural Building Elements from Oriented Straw Cable

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Ashland Prototypes
509 North Mountain Ave.
Ashland, OR 97520
Principal Investigator


The overall goal of this proposed project is the development of load bearing, structural building elements from oriented straw. Producting building elements from surplus staw will help provide low-cost housing in rural areas, and will help reduce greenhouse emissions associated with the production of typical construction materials. Producting building materials free from VOCs and other toxins will led to improved health in construction workers and home owners. A developed market for straw cable building panels would increase income available to grain farmers. Six supportnd objectives support tis overall goal: 1. Characterization of the material properties through testing and refining of the field manufacturing process. 2. Develop and refine the field manufacturing equipment to increase the efficiency, reliability, and consistency in preparation for commercialization. 3. Examine the effects of environmental conditions on the material, through testing. Also determination of the environmental impact of structures utilizing the material. 4. Begin to develop design guidelines that will be applicable to straw cable composites. 5. Create a structural panel spanning at least 10 ft which can support typical roof loads, using results from prior objectives and testing. 6. Design and construct a structure using structural elements of straw cable composites. Anticipated outcomes include: (1) a defined target market based on the structural and weathering properties of the material; (2) a more precise assessment of cost competitiveness compared to wod and masonry structures; (3) a better unerstanding of the parameters affecting the strength of the material leading to potential improvements; and (4) based on the above factors, a detailed plan for commercialization.