Materials manufacturers and R&D labs sometimes need to make alloys in small batches. So Crucible Research, Pittsburgh (, developed the Research Atomizer, a 1-lb tungsten arc-melting, refractory-free gas atomizer. It makes small lots (0.2 to 0.7 lb) of high-temperature alloys and atomizes them with argon, nitrogen, helium, or a mixture of these gases. The furnace's bottom-pour mechanics ensures there are no refractory inclusions and the resulting alloy is a highly pure, spherical powder.