a. Heating 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 applied to ferrous alloys, the term "annealing", without qualification, implies full annealing. When applied to nonferrous alloys, annealing implies a heat treatment designed to soften a cold-worked structure by recrystallization or subsequent grain growth or to soften an age-hardened alloy by causing a nearly complete precipitation of the second phase in relatively coarse form. ASM, 1 b. The variation of the cooling rate at different temperatures of porcelain, glass, and other ceramic ware containing large quantities of vitreous material to prevent defects such as dunting, crazing, cracking, crystallization, etc. c. The process by which glass and certain metals are heated and then slowly cooled to make them more tenacious and less brittle. Important in connection with the manufacture of steel castings, forgings, etc. Fay d. The process of heating metal shapes to a red heat or above, prior to cleaning.
Source:
Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms












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