Multi-layer laminates were produced using alternating layers of Si3N4 and Si3N4+TiN. The differences in the coefficient of thermal expansions between the alternating layers lead to residual stresses after cooling. These are compressive in the Si3N4 layers and tensile in the Si3N4+TiN layers. The existence of these stresses in the laminates effect the crack propagation behaviour during failure. Different designs of laminates were produced with external layers under compression and tension exhibiting different failure mechanisms. Facture toughness was measured by SEVNB method. In systems with external layers under compression the measured fracture toughness was up to three times that of Si3N4, i.e. up to 17 MPa m1/2. In systems with external layers under tension during failure the energy absorbing effects of crack deflection and crack bifurcation were obtained. High temperature tests were performed to determine the onset temperature for residual stresses in these laminates. Micro-laminates with compressive layers of only 30 µm thickness with high strength and fracture toughness and were manufactured.