A low cost and reliable ceramic matrix composite fabrication route has been developed. It involves the coating of 2D woven ceramic fibres (Nextel(TM) 720) with oxide nano-size ceramic particles by electrophoretic deposition (EPD) followed by impregnation of the coated fibres with ceramic matrix and warm pressing at 180 degrees C to produce the "green" component ready for pressureless sintering. The effects of two different weak interface materials, NdPO4 and ZrO2, on the thermomechanical properties of the composites are also examined. Damage mechanisms, such as debonding, fibre fracture, delamination and matrix cracking within the composite plates subjected to tensile loading are analysed using acoustic emission technique and correlated with microstructure. It is shown that the composites with NdPO4 interface, 10% porosity and 40 vol.% fibre loading have superior themomechanical properties in terms of strength and damage-tolerant behaviour in multilayer plate form. The improved sinterability and microstructure stability at moderate temperatures ensure both the fibre integrity and load transfer efficiency resulting in high strength damage-tolerant composites. The final components produced are considered to be suitable for use as shroud seats and insulating plates for combustor chambers in aircraft engines. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.