The physio-chemical stability of the oxygen carrier material during chemical looping combustion (CLC) operation is crucial. In the present paper we discuss the challenges connected to operating a metal oxide base material in a cyclic manner between oxidizing and reducing atmospheres. Especially, focus has been put on the phase changes occurring within the oxygen carrier particles leading to changes in particle volume during operation and consequently, with time, also particle disintegration. Particle sintering may also occur for some oxygen carrier materials in their reduced form. These challenges have been exemplified through lab-scale CLC experiments carried out both in fixed bed and fluidized bed reactors.