We extend the analysis of Hutchinson and Neale (Hutchinson JW, Neale KW. Acta Metall 1977;25:839) and Ghosh (Ghosh AK. Acta Metall 1977;25:1413) predicting the tensile elongation to failure of strain-rate-dependent plastic materials to two-phase composites deforming quasistatically according to the equistrain rule of mixtures. The analysis incorporates the influence of work hardening and strain-rate hardening in both composite constituent phases. It is shown that the problem can be formulated in a manner that condenses the seven underlying material parameters into four dimensionless numbers for composites of power-law hardening phases, the number of parameters falling to two for linear hardening. It then emerges that the stabilizing influence of both work hardening and strain-rate hardening is, within assumptions of the model, always predominantly exerted by the phase that carries the greater share of the composite stress. It is also shown that the prediction can be simplified so as to enable an approximate but convenient direct graphical deduction of the tensile elongation of ductile laminated metal composites (LMCs), knowing the work hardening and strain-rate hardening characteristics of the two phases making the composite. The utility of this graphical scheme is illustrated with two examples, namely LMCs containing one phase of (moderately ductile) aluminium alloy or of a (low-ductility) nanocrystalline metal. (C) 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.