Honeycomb structures are natural or man-made structures that have the geometry of a honeycomb to allow the minimization of the amount of used material to reach minimal weight and minimal material cost. The geometry of honeycomb structures can vary widely but the common feature of all such structures is an array of hollow cells formed between thin vertical walls. The cells are often columnar and hexagonal in shape. A honeycomb shaped structure provides a material with minimal density and relative high out-of-plane compression properties and out-of-plane shear properties.
Man-made honeycomb structural materials are commonly made by layering a honeycomb material between two thin layers that provide strength in tension. This forms a plate-like assembly. Honeycomb materials are widely used where flat or slightly curved surfaces are needed and their high Specific strength is valuable. They are widely used in the aerospace industry for this reason, and honeycomb materials in aluminum, fibreglass and advanced composite materials have been featured in aircraft and rockets since the 1950s. They can also be found in many other fields, from packaging materials in the form of paper-based honeycomb cardboard, to sporting goods like skis and snowboards.