Annealing is a heat treatment process used to soften materials, improve ductility, and relieve internal stresses. The annealing process can be performed in various atmospheres, such as vacuum, inert gas, or air. The purpose of annealing is to make a material more workable by reducing its hardness and increasing its ductility. It is also used to relieve internal stresses that can develop in a material during processing, such as welding or machining.
There are different types of annealing, including full annealing, process annealing, and stress-relief annealing. Full annealing involves heating a material to a temperature above its critical point, holding it at that temperature for a certain period of time, and then cooling it down slowly. Process annealing is used to reduce the hardness of materials that have been cold worked, such as sheet metal, by heating them to a temperature below their critical point and holding them there for a period of time before cooling. Stress-relief annealing involves heating a material to a temperature below its critical point and holding it there for a period of time to relieve internal stresses.
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