© 2020 Elsevier Ltd To comprehend the role of water-based nanolubricant in micro flexible rolling, corresponding characterisation with respect to different concentrations of nanolubricants, surface roughness variation subjected to each micro flexible rolling phase and dispersion of nanoparticles (NPs) were studied systematically. The results reveal that increasing NPs get trapped into the surfaces from the thicker zone to the thinner zone. Downward transition zone with favourable deformation features leads to the smoother surface roughness. Nanolubricants can effectively decrease rolling traces due to the beneficial nanolubrication mechanisms. Notably, the maximum reduction for rolling force is around 18% for the case under 2.0 wt% nanolubricant rolling condition. The current study provides great potential insights in how nanolubrication takes effect in microforming areas.