Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Everett E. McEwen


An experimental investigation is conducted on the bridge bearing system and the behavior of the masonry bearing plate on the distribution of stresses is studied. Four specimens of the concrete substructure are cast in two different sizes and strain gages embedded in the concrete at several locations. The effects of the thickness of the bearing plate, size of the concrete substructure, ratio of the plate area to block area, overhang of the bearing plate beyond the loaded area, and the ratio of the loaded area to plate area have also been studied.

The experimental study comprises of 72 tests in the working stress range and four ultimate load tests. Stresses beneath the bearing plate in the concrete substructure and on the bearing plates are measured and presented. For the ultimate load tests, relative slip between the bearing plate and the concrete, and the relative lift of the plate edge in relation to concrete is measured and presented.

Experimental-analytical comparisons of stress distribution are made for some cases. Recommendations are made for designing the bearing plates.



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