Two weeks ago, I wrote about supervising PhD students and my own PhD thesis [‘35 years later and still working on a PhD thesis‘ on September 16th, 2020]. The tedium of collecting data as a PhD student without digital instrumentation stimulated me to work subsequently on automation in experimental mechanics which ultimately led to projects like INSTRUCTIVE and DIMES. In INSTRUCTIVE we developed low-cost digital sensors for tracking damage in components; while in DIMES we are transitioning the technology into the industrial environment using tests on full-scale aircraft systems as demonstrators. However, my research in automating and digitising measurements in experimental mechanics has not generated my most cited publications; instead, my two most cited papers describe the development and application of results in my PhD thesis to osseointegrated dental implants. One, published in 1994, describes the ‘Tightening characteristics for screwed joints in osseointegrated dental implants‘; while, the other published two years earlier provides a ‘Theoretical analysis of the fatigue life of fixture screws in osseointegrated dental implants‘. In other words, the former tells you how to tighten the screws so that the implants do not come loose and the latter how long the screws will survive before they need to be replaced – both quite useful pieces of information for dentists which perhaps explains their continued popularity.
Statistics footnote: my two most cited papers received five times as many citations in the last 18 months and also since publication than the most popular paper from my PhD thesis. The details of the three papers are given below:
Burguete, R.L., Johns, R.B., King, T. and Patterson, E.A., 1994. Tightening characteristics for screwed joints in osseointegrated dental implants. Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, 71(6), pp.592-599.
Patterson, E.A. and Johns, R.B., 1992. Theoretical analysis of the fatigue life of fixture screws in osseointegrated dental implants. The International journal of oral & maxillofacial implants, 7(1), p.26.
Kenny, B. and Patterson, E.A., 1985. Load and stress distribution in screw threads. Experimental Mechanics, 25(3), pp.208-213.