The study presents the results of laboratory testing of the phenomenon of cracking in the process of cross rolling. A new method of determining the critical value of the damage function was developed, in which a disc-shaped sample is subjected to rotational compression in a channel. In this method the Mannesmann effect was used. The laboratory tests were conducted for C45, 50HS and R260 grade steel in the temperature range 950°C-1150°C. In order to research various methods of simulating the phenomenon of cracking in the process of cross rolling, physical modelling was also employed. The model material was commercial plasticine, cooled to the temperature 0°C-20°C. Comparing the test results for both the real and model material allowed one to determine the range of the forming temperature for the model material, in which the cracking process is similar to the case of the real material.