The material condition is the form, heat treatment, temper, etc. of the material. Some common forms of heat treatment include:
Keeping an alloy at an elevated temperature for a long period of time to allow precipitation to take place. See also precipitation hardening.
Heating to and holding at a specific temperature and then cooling at a specific rate. Generally used to soften material for cold working. improve machinability, or alter/improve physical and sometimes chemical
Austenitizing a ferrous alloy (heating above the transformation range) and subsequently cooling it in open air to relieve internal stress and provide uniform composition and grain size. Results in a harder, stronger steel than annealing.
Keeping an alloy at an elevated temperature for a long period of time (see aging) to allow the controlled release of constituents (alloying elements) to form precipitate (fine particles separated from the solid solution) clusters which increase the yield strength of the alloy.
Rapidly cooling a metal after heating it above the critical temperature. Usually produces a harder metal in ferrous alloy, while most non-ferrous alloys become softer.
Heating to a temperature below the transformation range for a specific time and then allowing it to cool in open air. Usually performed after hardening to reduce excess hardness and increase toughness (ability to absorb energy and plastically deform without breaking).