Monoclinic zirconia and hydroxyapatite (HA) composites with or without 5 wt% YF3 were synthesized to investigate their mechanical properties and phase stability. HA decomposed to tri-calcium-phosphate and CaZrO3 in the 25 wt% ZrO2-75 wt% HA composite. However, thermal stability of the phases, densification, hardness and fracture toughness were improved when 5 wt% YF3 was added into the system. Five weight percent YF3 increased the transformation of monoclinic-ZrO2 into tetragonal/cubic-ZrO2 by incorporating the Y3+ ions present in YF3 when the hot pressing temperature was increased from 1100 to 1200 degrees C. Moreover, the stability of HA was also improved by incorporating the F- ions from YF3 in the place of OH- ions in HA. Substitution of OH- by F- ions was verified by the change in HA's hexagonal lattice parameters. A fracture toughness of 1.93 MPa root m was calculated for the same composite. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.