A. W. PAGE University of Newcastle, Australia
N. G. SHRIVE University of Calgary, Canada


The compressive strength of masonry is usually estimated from tests on small assemblages or tests on the components — the units and mortar. Testing methods vary considerably and are not standardized internationally. The behaviour of the sample is influenced critically by many factors such as the method of test, the specimen geometry and end conditions. Hollow concrete masonry units are anistropic due to large vertical perforations, the webs and shells of the unit are usually tapered and the masonry is often constructed with mortar on the face-shells only. The factors influencing the behaviour of all brittle materials loaded in compression are reviewed briefly and the behaviour of hollow block masonry is discussed in detail. The standard tests are assessed critically and recommendations made for some standardization of procedures.