In rolling process, the contact friction is of crucial importance for accurate modeling, optimum design and control of industrial rolling processes. It is important to characterize the features of the oxide scale of stainless steel in hot strip rolling because the scale on the strip surface affects friction coefficient and thermal conductivity coefficient. To some extent, the rolling force and friction condition depend on the thickness and the microstructure of the oxide scale. Oxidation tests of stainless steels 304 and 304L were carried out in a high temperature electric resistance furnace. The humid air in which the water vapour content can be controlled was generated and remained to flow into the chamber of the furnace in 2.5 x 10(-4) m(3)/s to study the effect of humidity on the oxidation of stainless steels. The microstructure and thickness of oxide scale layer of stainless steels were obtained and two or three oxide layers can be found. The humid air has a significant effect on the growth of oxide scale. Hot rolling tests were carried out on Hille 100 rolling mill. The friction condition at the roll-strip interface during hot rolling of stainless steel was determined and the transfer of surface roughness was discussed.