Annealing 2Heating to and holding at a suitable temperature and then cooling at a suitable rate, for such purposes as reducing hardness, improving machinability, facilitating cold working, producing a desired microstructure, or obtaining desired mechanical, physical, or other properties. When applicable, the following more specific terms should be used: black annealing, blue annealing, box annealing, bright annealing, flame annealing, graphitizing, intermediate annealing, isothermal annealing, malleablizing, process annealing, quench annealing, recrystallization annealing, and spheroidizing. When applied to ferrous alloys, the term annealing, without qualification, implies full annealing. When applied to nonferrous alloys, the term annealing implies a heat treatment designed to soften an age-hardened alloy by causing a nearly complete precipitation of the second phase in relatively coarse form. Any process of annealing will usually reduce stresses, but if the treatment is applied for the sole purpose of such relief, it should be designated stress relieving.