Residual strength (room temperature strength after exposure in air at high temperatures) of hot pressed ZrB2-SiC composites was evaluated as function of SiC contents (10-30 vol%) as well as exposure temperatures for 5 h (1000-1700 degrees C). Multilayer oxide scale structures were found after exposures. The composition and thickness of these multilayered oxide scale structure was dependent on exposure temperature and SiC contents in composites. After exposure to 1000 degrees C for 5 h, the residual strength of ZrB2-SiC composites improved by nearly 60% compared to the as-hot pressed composites with 20 and 30 vol% SiC. On the other hand, the residual strength of these composites remained unchanged after 1500 degrees C for 5 h. A drastic degradation in residual strength was observed in composites with 20 and 30 vol% SiC after exposure to 1700 degrees C for 5 h in ZrB2-SiC. An attempt was made to correlate the microstructural changes and oxide scales with residual strength with respect to variation in SiC content and temperature of expsoure. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.