Researchers have found that as melted metals and alloys (combinations of metals) solidify, they can form with different arrangements of atoms, called microstructures. These microstructures depend on the shape of the interface (boundary) between the melted metal and the solid crystal it is forming. There are generally three shapes that the interface can take: planar, or flat; cellular, which looks like the cells of a beehive; and dendritic, which resembles tiny fir trees. Convection at this interface can affect the interface shape and hide the other phenomena (physical events). To reduce the effects of convection, researchers conduct experiments that examine and control conditions at the interface in microgravity. Microgravity also helps in the study of alloys composed of two metals that do not mix. On Earth, the liquid mixtures of these alloys settle into different layers due to gravity. In microgravity, the liquid metals do not settle, and a solid more uniform mixture of both metals can be formed.