Strain rate dependent compression mechanical behavior of an SiC-particulate reinforced Al (2024-O) metal matrix composite (MMC) with different particle volume fractions was numerically investigated at various strain rates. Calculations were performed using axisymmetric finite element unit cell model, in which an elastic SiC particle was embedded inside a strain rate sensitive viscoplastic Al matrix. Stress-strain curves of Al matrix material were derived from Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar experiments at various strain rates and used as inputs in the FEM model. Numerically computed stress-strain curves and strain rate sensitivity were compared with those of experiments for a 15% SiC-particulate reinforced MMC. Computed strain rate sensitivity of the MMC was found to be higher than that of the matrix alloy and increased with increasing strain contrary to the strain independent matrix strain rate sensitivity. The strain rate sensitivity of the MMC was also found to increase with increasing particle volume fraction at the same particle size. Finally, several possible reasons including assumptions used in the model, adiabatic heating, microstructural variations between the composite matrix and matrix alloy, particle shape and distribution and damage accumulation for the small discrepancy found between computed and experimental stress-strain curves and strain rate sensitivity of the composite were discussed. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.