- Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), 2022
- M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), 2020
- B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Walla Walla University, 2017
- President’s Fellowship, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017-2021
Dr. Zirkle specializes in the mechanical evaluation of industrial and construction machinery for accident and incident investigation. He also specializes in mechanical integrity and reliability assessments of systems in the energy and transportation industries, including evaluation of wind turbines, gas pipelines, railcars, and aircraft structures. Dr. Zirkle assists clients in these industries in a range of contexts, including personal injury litigation, intellectual property disputes, and arbitration. He provides valuable insights to clients by leveraging his experience, synthesizing disparate sources of information, and distilling complex regulatory requirements.
Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Zirkle received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Zirkle researched the failure of stainless steel structures exposed to damaging hydrogen environments in nuclear energy applications. Dr. Zirkle translated these findings to the engineering component level, enabling precise root cause failure analysis and informing hierarchical nuclear energy design processes. In addition to his graduate research, Dr. Zirkle has also conducted research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Sandia National Laboratories, investigating light-based surface roughness characterization and topology optimization, respectively.
Other areas of Dr. Zirkle's technical expertise include nonlinear finite element analysis, fracture and fatigue investigation, incorporation of artificial intelligence in materials science, and development of topology optimization strategies for 3D printing. Dr. Zirkle is further proficient with the modeling software Ansys, Abaqus, and Dream3D as well as the coding languages MATLAB, Python, and Fortran.