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I'm searching for a word that has the meaning of something that is made of two different parts. I've looked around on thesaurus and this site for a bit and I can't find anything. Here is the sentence I'm trying to use it in:

This communication has covered the basics of percolation theory and shown that a 3-dimensional cluster labeling programme is able to describe the complex three dimensional network between the different sites in the [Insert Word Here] blend.

And here is an image showing what such a blend looks like.

enter image description here

The issue is that it's not just an amalgam I'm trying to describe, but a material with two separate interpenetrating species.

What word should I use to describe this?

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The word blend already implies that there's a mixture of materials. If the materials are blended equally, it would be homogenous. If they are blended unequally, it would be heterogeneous. –  onomatomaniak Jan 16 '12 at 10:02
    
But this is a mixture of two discrete entities. Whilst a mixture of red and blue ping-pong balls is a 'blend' it's different to a continuous mixture of say, water and fruit juice. –  Pureferret Jan 16 '12 at 10:11
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@onomatomaniak: Actually, a heterogenous blend is one where the materials are separate, like oil and water, and a homogenous blend is one where the composition is uniform, like salt and water. –  Christoffer Hammarström Jan 16 '12 at 12:55
    
I think the word "blend" itself is potentially troublesome here, in that it implies the two components are more thoroughly mixed together than OP intends. I'd use a more extended phrasing if it was important to convey that the component elements remain discrete at some meaningful level. –  FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 17:58
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7 Answers 7

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The most appropriate term I can think of is composite, used either as a noun or adjective. NOAD provides some excellent accompanying examples:

composite

(adjective) made up of several parts or elements:

  • (esp. of a constructional material) made up of recognizable constituents:

    a new composite material—a blend of plastic and ceramic resins.

(noun) a thing made up of several parts or elements:

  • a composite constructional material:

    the next decade may well see the introduction of more designer polymers and composites

Since composite refers to several elements, not just two, you could use it in your example this way:

... between the two different sites in the composite blend

using the word two to specify how many elements there are.

The answer provided by Kris, however, is more technically appropriate for the specific example you mention. However, combining this with your suggestion, binary composite is certainly an excellent alternative. Binary mixture is also technically correct, as all composites, amalgams, blends, etc, are simply mixtures.

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"Multi-phase" is the physical term for a medium that contains two or more distinct, inter-mixed, parts.

Depending on your context, the term "metamorphic" may also be appropriate. The word is principally geological.

Or, just Aggregate.

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You may make use of the Latin prefix bi-:

biparted blend

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Sorry to say, but this does not sound natural at all. @Kris's answer pretty much sums it. –  Jimi Oke Jan 16 '12 at 11:17
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That would be "bipartite", but it doesn't really work very well in the OP's context. –  Ilmari Karonen Jan 16 '12 at 15:01
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The title made me think of bipartite, which means literally “having or consisting of two parts”, and is well used in mathematics and biology. Another term that might serve is bi-heterogeneous, which is more specific to your purposes; though less widely used, it’s still cromulent.

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You've already had some good suggestions, but I'd like to throw in one more: "colloidal".

This is a more specific term than "binary" or "heterogeneous", and I'm not sure from your description whether it accurately describes the material you're referring to. But if it does, it's likely to be more informative than the more generic terms.

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Colloidal doesn't fit as one medium isn't truly suspended in the other, at least not as far as I know. –  Pureferret Jan 16 '12 at 15:41
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binary

The most commonly used term in technical literature for something that comprises of two distinct elements, such as a compound (binary compound).

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+1 This is it. In this case, binary mixture would also work... –  Jimi Oke Jan 16 '12 at 10:41
    
This is a great word for it I'm going to accept this if nothing else comes up soon. How did I not think of this word? –  Pureferret Jan 16 '12 at 10:42
    
@Pureferret: I deleted my suggestion, composite, because it usually refers to more than two components. Since you're specifically looking for a word that refers to exactly two components, I would certainly agree that binary is the way to go. –  Jimi Oke Jan 16 '12 at 10:54
    
@JimiOke Binary composite would definitely work though. –  Pureferret Jan 16 '12 at 10:58
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Gr8! Then it's simply a binary composite, after all! –  Kris Jan 16 '12 at 11:31
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I would say something like

the two-way blend

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Doesn't that imply some kind of direction? –  Pureferret Jan 16 '12 at 10:23
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