Recrystallization characteristics of severe cold rolled Cu-0.23 vol%Al2O3 alloy were investigated through the examination of properties and microstructure. A special change of mechanical and physical properties was observed during the annealing process, which is different from previous reports of particle-containing alloys. On the basis of metallographic, fracture observations and TEM microstructure, nature of recrystallization behavior and kinetic analysis, it was deduced that its diffusion activation energy in the nucleation process is higher than that in the growth process for the high temperature annealing. (C) 2009 Elsevier BM. All rights reserved.