Ken Kirby Director of Metallurgy

DR Kenneth Kirby

BEng (Hons), PhD

Director of Metallurgy/NDT

+44 7894 171276


Since joining Brookes Bell Ken has undertaken investigations into failures of a wide range of commercial ships and Superyacht structures, machinery and components, including fatigue and corrosion mechanisms.  Ken has carried out investigations on-site and in the laboratory and has produced expert witness reports for litigation and given expert witness testimony at arbitrations and High Court proceedings in the United Kingdom, Shanghai and the USA. 

Ken Kirby graduated with a BEng (Hons) degree in Materials Science & Metallurgy and a PhD in Metallurgy.  He has ten years' industrial experience in production, research and development of rare earth, transition metal alloys.  

Before joining Brookes Bell, Ken was responsible for investigating the quality of raw materials and finished products, implementing procedures for the casting of rare earth alloys, and for overseeing their production.  

He also participated in an EU Project which investigated and devised new technology for the manufacture of high-temperature magnets.

Professional memberships & Qualifications

I.A.T.A. Shipping Dangerous Goods by Air Certificate

Member of the Institute of Metals Minerals and Mining

Academic Qualifications

BEng (Hons) Materials Science & Metallurgy

PhD in Metallurgy

Vessel analysis

  • Grounding and partial capsize – from fishing vessels to tankers

  • Vessel capsize and foundering (fishing vessels, car ferries, car carriers, tugs, AHV’s, dumb barges and bulk carriers)

  • Residual strength of merchant ships. hull failures

  • Cruise liner design and analysis for optimal aerodynamics

  • Accidental flooding

  • Rudder and roll stabilisation fins vibration and fatigue

  • Lashing failures and container stack collapse

  • Machinery component strength

  • Propeller selection and performance issues

Improving safety

Advising on fishing vessel stability and car ferries, Kieran helps improve safety for the marine authorities.

Kieran has provided technical input into Flag Administration investigations of serious incidents.

Surveying and Consultancy Experience

Investigation of:

  • Failure of major items of vessels' structure/equipment, including rudder horns; rudder stocks; camshafts; crankshafts; hull structure, etc.

  • Failure of marine wire-ropes, including crane wires, lashing wires/chains, and their associated equipment.

  • Quality of raw materials and finished products, and the effect of using contaminated/defective products in sound production processes.

  • Quality of welding, including new-building disputes, and failures resulting from defective welding. 

  • Component failures; material and chemical analysis.

  • Claims involving ferrous and non-ferrous cargoes, including re-bar, steel coils, aluminium sheet/ingots, and various finished products, including galvanised steel.

  • Claims involving mineral ore cargoes and cargo sampling.

  • Corrosion of ferrous and non-ferrous products, plant and machinery, including claims for sulphur damage to ships' structure. 

  • Corrosion of stainless-steel cargo tanks and other structures within chemical products tankers, including damage caused by phosphoric acid cargoes.