This study investigates the behaviour of rubber blocks bonded between two plates under combined compression and shear loading, using experimental and numerical analyses, and also approximate analytical theories. First, experimental data from a series of compression and shear tests of rubber blocks with different aspect ratios are presented. Next, numerical simulations are carried out with three-dimensional finite element (FE) models, allowing insight to be gained into the stress and strain fields within the blocks. Existing analytical theories for blocks under compression and combined compressive and shear loading are then reviewed, and their accuracy is evaluated against test and numerical results. The study shows that those theories accounting for the effect of the axial shortening of the blocks provide a better description of the combined compression and shear behaviour, compared to theories, developed for laminated structural bearings with many thin rubber layers, that ignore this effect. An improved theory is also proposed, which better describes the effects of the bulging of the compressed blocks on their shear and flexural parameters and provides a better fit to experimental and numerical results.
- rubber blocks
- FE models
- low shape factor
- coupled horizontal-vertical behaviour