The annealing process involves heating up the material slightly above its austenitizing temperature and then controlled cooling it from there. In annealing, the material can be cooled in the furnace either isothermally or non-isothermally. By controlling the cooling rate the hardness and the ductility of the material can be controlled.

Annealing brings the material to its initial strain-free state via three stages – recovery, recrystallization and grain growth.