An analytical investigation using a three-dimensional finite element model was conducted to study the effect of bearing plate thickness and stiffness on the behavior of axially loaded hollow block masonry prisms. Faceshell and full mortar bedding of prisms were considered. Detailed vertical and lateral stress distributions for different bearing plates were determined which help in understanding the impact of bearing plate properties on the behavior of the prism. The results show that a 51 mm (2 in.) thick steel bearing plate for a 203 mm (8 in.) block prism is inadequate and leads to a nonuniform state of strain. It is concluded that plate stiffness rather than plate thickness is the most appropriate factor to be considered when selecting bearing plate size. A 102 mm (4 in.) steel plate is recommended for testing 203 mm (8 in.) block prisms under axial compression.
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