Materials Handling

Materials Handling I

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This course is the first in a three-part series and focuses on the properties and flow characteristics of grains and other dry bulk materials. Students will be able to determine various material characteristics and their effect on the selection and sizing of bins, spouting and screw conveyors.

Course Goals: This course aims to teach students the basic principles of dry bulk material flow; material properties and characteristics; bin capacities and pressures; types, selection and sizing of spouting, valves, distributors and gates; components, designing, sizing and powering of screw conveyors.

Target Audience: Materials Handling I is designed for people with responsibilities relating to management, operation and maintenance within grain storage or handling and processing facilities—specifically, grain-facility owners/operators; elevator superintendents; location or regional managers; designers, engineers and maintenance personnel; university students and anyone with a professional need to learn more about grain and ingredient handling characteristics and the equipment used in grain and processing facilities.


Fred Fairchild  Kansas State University Department of Grain Science and IndustrySee Bio

Before arriving at KSU in 1994, Fred Fairchild had more than 30 years of industry experience in the design, construction, operation and management of feed, flour, dry corn milling and pet food manufacturing facilities. A professor of grain science and industry, Fairchild worked previously at Todd & Sargent in Ames, Iowa, where he was vice president of engineering. A licensed professional engineer, Fairchild specializes in plant design and construction, manufacturing technology, maintenance, materials handling and plant management.

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Physical Properties of Materials
This lecture will look at common grains and ingredients used in grain and feed products. Students will learn to calculate the density of grains, ingredients and finished products and examine and understand the physical properties of grains, ingredients and processed and finished products. The main topics include: the shapes and appearances of different grains and ingredients, the changes that occur when whole materials are ground, determining bulk density and factors affecting density, and effects of particle size, shapes and other conditions on material.

Lecture 2 – Determining Material Flow Factors
This lecture will go over terms and teach students how to determine such geometry and trigonometry functions as “Angle of Repose,” “Static Coefficient of Friction” and “Dynamic Coefficient of Friction.” The lecture will also touch on other factors affecting flow.

Lecture 3 – Material Flow Patterns
This lecture introduces students to the key properties of material flow in bins and spouting and the different types of material flow patterns. The following topics will be covered: funnel flow, mass flow, expanded and combined flows and the advantages and disadvantages of various flow patterns.

Week 2Details

Lecture 4 – Bin Types and Features
Using detailed images and examples, this lecture provides an overview of bin types and features in relation to materials handling. By the end of the lecture students will know about bin types and layouts, how each bin type is used and be able to recognize various types of bin construction and understand the purpose of different bin features.

Lecture 5 – Hopper Design and Valley Angles
This lecture provides a look at different bin hopper types and styles and goes over the terms “hopper slope” and “valley angle” and explains how to calculate them.

Lecture 6 – Bin Capacities
The objective of this lecture is to teach students to recognize the effects of bin and hopper shapes on the capacity of a bin, to calculate the useable capacity of a bin and to understand the effects of compaction factors on bin capacity. It will use bin capacity formulas with examples to help students fully understand the equations.

Week 3Details

Lecture 7 – Bin Pressures
This lecture goes over the relationship between bin pressures and product depth. By the end of this lecture students will be able to calculate the vertical and horizontal pressures in a bin and understand their relationship; identify the location of the greatest wall pressures in a bin and know how to calculate vertical wall load in a bin. It will include bin failure pictures as helpful visuals.

Lecture 8 – Spouting Types and Sizes
In this lecture, students will learn about the minimum slope (angle) of spouting for various materials handling, common types and sizes of spouting and how to identify wall thickness and familiarize themselves with spout liners and the materials used.

Lecture 9 – Spouting Accessories, Valves and Distributors
This lecture will familiarize students with various types of spouting accessories and their applications and constructions, types and styles of spouting diverter valves and their applications (cushion boxes, flow retarders), and types and styles of distributors used in spouting systems and spout accessories.

Week 4Details

Lecture 10 – Gates, Spout-Sizing and Gate-Sizing
This lecture will go over various types of gates and actuators, gate accessories and spout and gate sizing in relation to material handling. Students will be able to calculate and choose spout and gate sizes based on material flow rates, and will use sample problems to learn formulas.

Lecture 11 – Screw Conveyor Applications
To familiarize students with the application and uses of screw conveyors, this lecture will cover three main topics: the history of screw conveyors, common applications and uses of screw conveyors and individual components of screw conveyors. Students will review various catalogs and manuals to gain a full understanding of screw conveyor components and applications.

Lecture 12 – Screw Conveyor Selection and Sizing, Part 1
Using their knowledge of screw conveyor applications gained from Lecture 11, students will learn how to select screw conveyors based on material handled. Topics covered include screw conveyor flighting, layout, capacity and overall selection. Students will be given diagrams and example problems to help them fully understand the selection process.

Week 5Details

Lecture 13 – Screw Conveyor Selection and Sizing, Part 2
This lecture will take the information learned from the two previous lectures and expand on the selection and sizing of screw conveyors. Students will use a component selection guide and sample problems to practice and better understand how to choose screw conveyors for different types of materials.

Lecture 14 – Screw Conveyor Power Requirements
In this lecture students will learn how to determine horsepower required for a screw conveyor and apply it to the conveyor designed in a previous lesson. The goal of this lecture is for students to be able to choose proper bearing factors, conveyor factors and other information for power calculations, to be able to calculate horsepower (Hp) requirements for a screw conveyor and to be able to check torque required for coupling shafts and bolts. It will cover topics such as calculation of friction and material horsepower, motor overload factors and application and selecting an actual motor for the application.