The mechanical behavior and failure mechanism of honeycomb composite consisting of Nomex honeycomb core and 2024Al alloy facesheets were investigated. The compressive and shear deformation behaviors of honeycomb composite were analyzed at temperatures ranged 25-300degreesC. The compressive and shear strengths of honeycomb composite decreased continuously with increasing temperature up to 300degreesC. The stress-strain curves obtained from the compressive and shear tests showed that the stress increased to a peak value and then decreased rapidly to a steady state value, which is nearly constant up to failure with increasing strain. The compressive deformation behavior of honeycomb composite was progressed by an elastic and plastic buckling of cell walls, debonding fracture at the interfaces of cell walls, and followed by a fracture of resin layer on cell walls. The shear deformation of honeycomb composite was progressed by an elastic shear deformation, plastic shear deformation, fracture of resin layer on cell walls, and followed by debonding fracture at core/facesheet interfaces. The shear strength of honeycomb composite showed strong anisotropy dependent on the loading direction. The shear strength in longitudinal direction was about 1.4 times higher compared to that in transversal direction due to the different thickness of cell walls mainly loaded during the shear deformation. (C) 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers.