Energy absorption capability and bending collapse behavior of an aluminum (AI)/carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) short square hollow section (SHS) beam were investigated under transverse quasi-static loading. The Al SHS beam was reinforced by CFRP, and the specimen was co-cured via an autoclave curing process. Three-point bending test was performed with five different lay-up sequences and three different laminate thicknesses. Stable bending collapse accompanying plastic hinge was observed in all specimens. Individual bending collapse behaviors were different depending on the lay-up sequences. The specific energy absorbed (SEA) was improved by up to 29.6% in the Al/CFRP SHS beam specimen with a [0/+45 degrees/90 degrees/-45 degrees](n) lay-up sequence and laminate thickness of 1.168 mm (thickness ratio of Al: CFRP = 1: 0.87, 8 plies of prepreg) compared to the Al SHS beam. The SEA was not related with damage area of the Al/CFRP SHS beam. Finite element analysis and theoretical analysis based on Kecman's model were performed to investigate the effect of reinforcement by CFRP on the Al SHS beam. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.