Principal Engineer II

Years of Experience: 40

Education & Licenses:

  • B.S., Materials Engineering, 1979, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • Registered Professional Engineer: States of California, Kansas, and Texas
  • Member NACE International, 1981

Areas of Specialization:

  • Process Damage Mechanisms
  • Utilities Damage Mechanisms
  • Damage Mechanism Reviews for Risk-Based Inspection analysis
  • Brittle Fracture Assessment and Fitness-For Service Support
  • Materials Selection for Refinery and Petrochemical Projects
  • Centrifugally Cast Alloys for High Temperature Furnaces (Hydrogen, Methanol, & Ethylene)
  • Ethylene Unit Damage Mechanisms


Mr. Kirkham has spent his entire career in the petrochemical, refining, and oil and gas industries as a materials/corrosion engineer.  He has a broad range of expertise, including materials selection, process, corrosion, utilities corrosion, failure analysis, metallurgy, welding, coatings, and non-metallic materials.  He has a thorough understanding of industry standards related to materials, welding, piping, fired heaters, tanks, and pressure vessels.  Additionally, he has contributed to process safety management by supporting various mechanical integrity initiatives, serving on incident investigation teams, supporting fitness-for-service (FFS) SMEs, and contributing to inspection management systems.

Mr. Kirkham spent 11 years as a Materials Engineer for Chevron, 9 years as a Materials Engineer/Advisor for ARCO Chemical, and 15 years as a Materials Engineer/Advisor for Lyondell Chemical.  While at ARCO Chemical, he contributed to the start-up of the FFS process.  He created annotated alloy diagrams that linked damage mechanisms to the process conditions that were later used for risk-based inspection (RBI) analysis.  At Lyondell, Ken’s accomplishments included:

  • Developing a comprehensive training class on ethylene unit metallurgy and damage mechanisms
  • Supervising the development of a Materials Manual for Glacial Acetic Acid Licensing
    • Including the fabrication and material specs for zirconium and nickel-based alloys
  • Leading a multidisciplinary effort to technically justify using an existing pipeline in ethanol service
    • Including SCC tests of pipeline steel in ethanol

Mr. Kirkham joined E2G | The Equity Engineering Group, Inc. as a Principal Engineer in the Materials & Corrosion group in 2014.  Since joining E2G, he has facilitated 8 damage mechanism reviews for refinery units, performed RBI damage mechanism reviews for more than 60 refinery units, created corrosion control documents for 6 petrochemical units, and developed IOWs for 10 refinery units.