Annealing

a generic term denoting a treatment consisting of heating a metal to a suitable temperature and holding it there, followed by cooling at a suitable rate. This process is used primarily to soften metallic materials, but also to simultaneously produce desired changes in the metal’s microstructure or other properties. When the term is used by itself, full annealing is implied. When the treatment is applied only for the relief of stress, it is properly called stress-relieving or stress-relief annealing.

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