Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are new structural materials with impressive mechanical properties. They can now be cast into large dimensions, which can lead to significant residual stress generation due to thermal tempering. In this process, a surface compression develops balanced with tension in the interior. To evaluate this phenomenon non-destructively, a model cylindrical stainless steel (SS)-BMG composite was prepared and studied using neutron diffraction and finite element (FE) modeling. The residual strain data from the SS obtained by diffraction were used in modeling calculations to show that significant tempering could be achieved in the composite (about -20OMPa surface compression in the SS). The strong bond between the SS and BMG allowed efficient load transfer and facilitated stress generation. The final values of the residual stresses were seen to be relatively insensitive to the high temperature constitutive behavior of the SS due to the physics of the thermal tempering in BMGs. The approach presented here constitutes an effective means to study non-destructively thermal tempering in BMGs. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.