An elastic-plastic thermal stress analysis has been carried out on steel-fibre-reinforced aluminum-matrix composite beams. The temperature takes the values zero and To at the upper-lower surfaces and on the middle axis, respectively, and is chosen to vary parabolically. The solution is executed at 0, 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees orientation angles considering the beam is fixed by two rigid planes at the ends. The composite beams are taken to be linear strain hardening. The plastic region is expanded from the middle axis of the beam. The intensity of the residual stress component of sigma (x) and the equivalent plastic strain are maximum at the boundary of the elastic-plastic regions. The magnitude of the residual stress is found to be greatest for the 0 degrees orientation angle; moreover the intensity of the equivalent plastic strain is the greatest for the same angle. Displacement components are found to be small. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.