A generic term denoting a treatment, consisting of heating to and holding at a suitable temperature followed by cooling at a suitable rate, used primarily to soften metallic materials, but also to simultaneously produce desired changes in other properties or in microstructure.  The purpose of such changes may be, but is not confined to: improvement of machinability, facilitation of cold work, improvement of mechanical or electrical properties, and/or increase in stability of Dimensions.  When the term is used without qualification, full annealing is implied.  When applied only for the relief of stress, the process is proper called stress relief annealing. austenite.  A solid solution of one or more elements in face-centered cubic iron.  Unless otherwise designated (such as nickel austenite), the solute is generally assumed to be carbon.

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