A two-dimensional finite element program has been developed for elastic-plastic analysis. Isoparametric quadrilateral element with four nodes is used and Lagrange polynomial has been chosen as interpolation function. In the finite element solution, an initial stress method (modified Newton-Raphson method) is used. Residual stresses have been shown in figures and the spread of plastic zones has been illustrated for steel-aluminum composite plates with edge notches. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.