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|Zinc oxide based electronic ceramics are being used increasingly to protect electric and electronic circuits against transient voltage surges. Varistors are produced by sintering and annealing ZnO based powder compacts through long sintering and annealing cycles. Because of the length of these cycles, a manufacturing plant is saddled with expensive high temperature equipment with low throughput. Ceramics Kingston Inc. has developed a new technology that uses 2.45 GHz microwave energy for sintering and annealing. The new technology has the potential for increasing equipment and labour productivity very considerably. Additionally, the new technology will result in appreciable energy savings and add flexibility to the manufacturing process. Microstructural examination of varistors sintered conventionally and by microwave technology showed considerably smaller grain size in the microwave sintered materials. The electrical properties of the microwave sintered ceramics compare very favorably with those of the ones sintered conventionally.|