Based on the thermal conduction equations, the three-dimensional (3D) temperature field of a work roll was investigated using finite element method (FEM). The variations in the surface temperature of the work roll during hot strip rolling were described, and the thermal stress field of the work roll was also analyzed. The results showed that the highest roll surface temperature is 593 °C, and the difference between the minimum and maximum values of thermal stress of the work roll surface is 145. 7 MPa. Furthermore, the results of this analysis indicate that temperature and thermal stress are useful parameters for the investigation of roll thermal fatigue and also for improving the quality of strip during rolling. © 2007 Central Iron and Steel Research Institute.