Postbuckling and vibration analyses considering large thermopiezoelastic deflections are performed for fully symmetric and partially eccentric piezolaminated composite plates. Non-linear finite element equations based on the layerwise displacement theory are formulated for piezolaminated plates subject to thermal piezoelectric loads. The results demonstrate a methodology for raising the thermal buckling temperature and decreasing the thermal postbuckled deflection. Vibration characteristics under complex thermopiezoelectric loads are investigated in the prebuckling and postbuckling regions. For fully distributed piezolaminates, this study shows that excessive bending moments for the suppression of thermally buckled deflection may cause another type of structural instability. In addition, the effective placement of piezoceramic patches is studied to improve suppression of thermally buckled deflection for the partially segmented piezolaminates. (C) 2000 Academic Press.