Why is honeycomb structure hexagonal?

Honey comb’, as the name says, is a hollow hexagonal structure usually seen in bee hives. This article elaborates on the applications of Honeycomb structure.

The two reasons put forward for honeycomb structure to be hexagonal and not in any other shape  are first, with the cells equally placed, the total perimeter of the cells is minimized and the second, single cells are irregular and inefficient. The hexagonal structure of honeycomb has not only aroused interest in Chemists, Physicists, Biologists and Mathematicians but also in the field of chemical engineering, mechanical engineering etc.


Honeycomb structure finds its application in

  • Graphene,an allotrope of carbon,known for its exceptional electrical,mechanical,thermal properties is because of its existence in Honeycomb structure.
  • Honeycomb structures placed one above the other as layers resemble a three dimensional graphite
  • Fullerenes resemble wrapped Honeycomb structures
  • A yarn woven in a honeycomb pattern renders exceptional properties to it like a cotton yarn absorbs liquids better while wool yarn absorbs body’s heat
  • The horizontal and vertical intersection of fibre leads to a cell-like structure which traps air,thereby providing insulation property to the cloth.
  • Due to their high strength,lightweight and energy absorption they have a wide application in aerospace,architecture,defence and biomedical fields.
  • Magnesium alloy honeycomb structure is a better option in comparison to Al alloy because of high strength and energy absorption.
  • Magnesium based alloys in the form of honeycomb are in use as interior linings of trains such as baggage holders,electric cabinets etc.
  • Honeycomb sandwich structure not only ensures load carrying capacity but also overall aircraft performance.

To conclude, the hexagonal structure of beehive cells, The Nature’s masterpiece finds substantial application in various fields.

Written by Uma Maheswari P


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