Surface roughness plays an important role in determining the tribological behaviour of mechanical components (e.g. gears and roller bearings etc.) under full-film and mixed (or partial) elastohydrodynamic lubrication conditions. This paper describes a detailed mechanics analysis of the surface roughness transformation of thin strip which has been cold rolled on an experimental mill. Low carbon steel strips were rolled at various speeds and reductions, and the effects of rolling parameters on surface roughness are studied. The results of surface roughness can provide important information to optimise the rolling schedule and to improve the rolled strip quality.