A new facility has been built at Kansas State University to study the science of bulk solids materials handling.

The Bulk Solids Innovation Center will specialize in the study of how to handle loose, dry commodities like sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics — investigating how they transport and how they behave during processing.

Such materials account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world. Ultimately, the aim of the research center is to enhance efficiency and productiveness in the operations of businesses that handle them.

Located on the university's Salina campus, the two-story, 13,000-square-foot facility houses six laboratories for university and industry-sponsored research; training and education, conference and lecture rooms; a material properties test lab; and a full-scale bulk solids test bay.

Kansas State University is the key tenant in the center, and two local companies, Coperion K-Tron Salina and Vortex Valves, will serve as anchor occupants. The facility complements the College of Agriculture's Bulk Solids and Particle Technology Lab and program housed on the Manhattan campus, the university said.

University-level courses associated with bulk solids as well as professional development courses for industry professionals will be taught in the new building. It will also be available for use by companies that design and utilize systems for bulk solids, and students will assist with research projects as outside firms partner with the center to conduct product testing.

"Bulk solids research is a somewhat underrepresented field, so having a facility of this magnitude in our backyard specifically for our students' benefit is invaluable," commented Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research and engagement at K-State Salina.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 14, to celebrate the grand opening of the Bulk Solids Innovation Center.