SALINA, Kan. -

Kansas State Salina broke ground on its bulk solids innovation center Thursday in the 600 block of North Front Street. It is the first center of its type in North America.

Bulk Solids are dry, flowable materials like plastic pellets, coffee beans or even flour. Researchers and students will be studying how this material flows to give companies a better idea of how to move them.

“Everything that we use in our day-to-day life comes in dry, bulk solid at some point in its existence,” Dr. Kurt Barnhardt, associate dean of research and outreach, said. “It’s getting products to market faster, more efficiently. It’s going to design valves and conveyance systems.”

Todd Smith, general manager at Coperion K-Tron, a company that makes systems that store and convey bulk solids, said that this research is something companies need.

“Customers in the industry all over the world are asking for improvements,” Smith said. “With the rigorous research methods that K-State brings, we can improve those methods.”

They will use computers models to simulate the flow of material and then students will create build the models.

The project is expected to be finished in April.