In this paper, the thermal buckling and postbuckling behaviours of a composite beam with embedded shape memory alloy (SMA) wires are investigated experimentally and analytically. For the purpose of enhancing the critical buckling temperature and reduction of the lateral deflection on thermal buckling and postbucltling, the characteristics of thermal buckling are investigated through the use of the shape recovery force. The results of thermal buckling tests using uniformly heated and clamped composite beam specimens with embedded SMA wire actuators are discussed. The temperature-load-deflection behaviour records present quantitatively how the shape recovery force affects the thermal buckling behaviour. For this experiment, we considered the initial geometric imperfections, the slenderness ratio of the beam and the embedding position of the SMA wire actuators. The experimental results show that the shape recovery force reduces the thermal expansion of the composite laminated beam. This results in an increase of Phe critical buckling temperature and a reduction of the lateral deflection of the beams.