A finite element heat transfer model incorporating a moving heat source has been developed to predict the temperature field in traverse cylindrical grinding. The model was then applied to analyse the grinding-hardening of quenchable steel 1045. It was found that in the region where the grinding wheel had an entire contact with the workpiece, material would experience a heating-cooling cycle, enabling the generation of a uniform hardened layer. In the transient regions at the two ends of the workpiece where the wheel-workpiece contacts were partial, the material was not hardened but experienced an annealing process. The results were in good agreement with the experimental observations.