The three-dimensional impact behaviours of functionally graded (FG) circular plates were studied under a drop-weight. The functionally graded circular plate was composed of ceramic (SiC) and metal (Al) phases and the through-thickness mechanical properties through the region between the metal and ceramic layers vary continuously according to a power-law distribution of the volume fraction of the ceramic. The through-thickness material properties of the FG circular plate were determined using the Mori-3Tanaka scheme. The effects of layer number and compositional gradient exponent as well as impactor velocity and plate radius on the elastic impact response of the FG circular plates were investigated. The compositional gradient exponent, impactor velocity and plate radius played an important role on the impact response of the FG circular plates, whereas the layer number through the plate thickness had a minor effect. In addition, the failure strains in all layers were determined using Tamura-Tomota-Ozowa (TTO) model in order to predict the damage regions in each layer through the thickness of FG circular plates. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.