In this paper the effects of different types of variations in profile and thickness on the amplitude of vibration and the dynamic bending stresses of a square cantilever plate subjected to a point impact load have been investigated. A four-noded plate bending element was used for the analysis. In each case the results obtained for different thickness variations are compared with those obtained for the uniform thickness plate. It is observed that considerable reductions in amplitude and/or bending stresses can be achieved by proper selection of thickness variation. © 1993.