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This article introduces the mechanism of diffusion and the common types of heat treatments such as annealing and precipitation hardening, which are applicable to most ferrous and nonferrous systems. Three distinct processes occur during annealing: recovery, recrystallization, and grain growth. The article also describes the various types of solid-state transformations such as isothermal transformation and athermal transformation, resulting from the heat treatment of nonferrous alloys. It provides information on the homogenization of chemical composition within a cast structure.

Homogenization heat treatment can be useful for improving the performance and life of an alloy while in service or for improving the processability during fabrication and hot working. This article describes the identification of incipient melt point, slowest-diffusing elements, and microstructural scale for homogenization of metal alloys. It also discusses the CALPHAD software to optimize the homogenization heat treatment and the Scheil module of the commercial thermodynamic modeling software.

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