Adiabatic shear banding during high speed machining is important to understand material removal mechanisms. This paper investigates the microstructure of adiabatic shear bands (ASBs) in the serrated chips produced during the high speed machining of AISI 1045 hardened steel. Optical microscope, scanning electronic microscope(SEM) and transmission electronic microscope(TEM) were used to explore the microstructural characteristics. It was found that there are two types of adiabatic shear bands. One is the deformed adiabatic shear band composed of a significantly deformed structure generated in a range of low cutting speeds, and the other is the transformed adiabatic shear band composed of very small equiaxed grains generated under high cutting speeds. The results indicated that the deformed band has a tempered martensite structure that formed through large plastic deformation and the transformed band has experienced a dynamic recrystallization process.