[en] The synthesis of barium zirconate was initiated by urea induced homogeneous precipitation followed by a "low temperature" thermal treatment. The kinetic of the reaction and the optimum urea/cation ratio have been determined by means of X-ray diffraction and Inductive Coupled Plasma analyses. It has been demonstrated that an amorphous zirconium hydrated oxide starts to precipitate followed by the precipitation of barium carbonate. A calcination at 1200 degreesC during 2 h gives rise to the formation of a pure barium zirconate phase. Microstructural characterisations have been performed in order to evaluate the sintering behaviour. Dilatometric measurements, coupled with scanning electron microscopy analyses clearly indicate that barium carbonate decomposition process leads to the formation of internal porosity which severely limits the density of the material, even if a sintering was performed at 1500 degreesC. A careful control of the heating profile seems to be necessary in order to produce dense materials. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.