Abstract Graphite containing nominally 40 vol.% ZrC (graphite–ZrC) was prepared from commercially available ZrO 2 and graphite powders by hot pressing at 2000 °C in a vacuum. The oxidation behavior of the graphite–ZrC composite was carried out in dry stagnant air at the temperatures of 1200 and 2200 °C. Compared with the pure graphite, the graphite–ZrC composite exhibited good oxidation resistance because the mass loss of the composite powder was significantly lower than that of the pure graphite. The mass loss of graphite–ZrC at 2200 °C was lower than pure graphite at 1200 °C. Furthermore, the introduction of ZrC also improved the strength of the graphite–ZrC composite.