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Nonplanar microstructures form most frequently during the solidification of alloys, and they play a crucial role in governing the properties of the solidified material. This article emphasizes the basic ideas, characteristic lengths, and the processing conditions required to control the columnar and equiaxed microstructures. The formation of cellular and dendritic structures in one- and two-phase structures is presented with emphasis on the effect of processing conditions and composition on the selection of microstructure and microstructure scales.

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