I can't quite remember where I saw it (either here on Oppo or over on Ars Technica), but someone was showing how turbine blades are being made from a single crystal of metal. When casting, the metal first goes through a sort of pig-tail shaped tube into the main casting chamber. When things start to cool, it eventually forms a large, single crystal for the bulk of the turbine blade.
Now I'm wondering - are automotive manufacturers already using processes like this to form connecting rods, pistons, etc.? Would there be any advantage to doing so over other processes, like forging?