The effects of the addition of BaO on the sinterability, phase balance, microstructure, and mechanical properties of 8 mol% yttria-stabilized cubic zirconia (8YSZ) were investigated using scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses, and micro-hardness testing. The 8YSZ powder was doped with 0-15 wt% BaO using a colloidal process. The undoped and BaO-doped 8YSZ specimens were sintered at 1550 degrees C for 1 h. The XRD analyses results showed that the specimens doped with up to 1 wt% BaO did not exhibit BaO-related peaks, indicating that BaO was completely solubilized in the 8YSZ matrix. However, when more than 1 wt% BaO was added, BaZrO3-related peaks appeared, suggesting that the overdoped BaO did not dissolve in the 8YSZ matrix but formed a secondary phase of BaZrO3 at high temperatures. Grain size measurements showed that the grain size of 8YSZ decreased with an increase in the amount of BaO added. The decrease in the grain size was owing to the fact that the grains of BaZrO3, which precipitated at the grain boundaries and grain junctions of 8YSZ, increased the grain boundary cohesive resistance because of the pinning effect. This resulted in a decrease in the grain boundary mobility, and an increase in the grain boundary energy. Furthermore, while the addition of BaO to 8YSZ caused a slight decrease in the hardness of 8YSZ, the fracture toughness of 8YSZ increased from 1.64 MPa m(1/2) to 2.08 MPa m(1/2), owing to the resulting decrease in the grain size. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd and Techna Group S.r.l. All rights reserved.