I am describing the positioning of three layers stacked on top of each other in a scientific paper. The first and third layer made from the same material, but the layer in between (i.e. the second layer) differs from the two other.

I would to put the description in the following context.

The module consist of two layers of A that ....[a verb]...a layer of B

What verbs best suits the context here?

  • 8
    Sounds like a sandwich to me. – Xanne Jul 17 '19 at 7:09
  • 3
    ".. consists of a layer of B between two layers of A" – Fattie Jul 17 '19 at 17:01
  • consider interstitial layer – Phil Sweet Jul 17 '19 at 18:48
  • @Fattie - between isn't a verb. But separating is. – Mazura Jul 18 '19 at 1:57
  • 1
    @DaveInCaz The layers have planer shape and stacked on top of each other like glass sheets – mo adib Jul 20 '19 at 18:44

An appropriate word would be:

sandwich MW

transitive verb

1 : to make into or as if into a sandwich

especially : to insert or enclose between usually two things of another quality or character

As in The module consists of two layers of A that sandwich a layer of B.

However, I think a more natural phrasing uses sandwiched by:

The module consists of a layer of B sandwiched by two layers of A

The may not sound like the most scientific term, but it is frequently used in composite material papers. See this article that lists "sandwich structures" as one of its keywords. Other articles can be found by using similar search terms.

  • There is nothing unscientific about this usage. Sandwich is a perfectly respectable verb. – TonyK Jul 18 '19 at 11:13
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    "Sandwiched between" sounds much more natural to me than "sandwiched by", and is a lot more common, too :) – psmears Jul 18 '19 at 12:25
  • And for what it's worth "Sandwich" does appear in the technical language of Calculus: The Sandwich Theorem (Also called the Squeeze Theorem). I'm sure I could find a paper on arXiv that uses the sandwich language. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squeeze_theorem – Thomas Markov Jul 18 '19 at 12:59

While the verb sandwich will be readily understood, yet another word which should work is flank.

The module consist of two layers of A that flank a layer of B


1 Be on each or on one side of.

‘Two black leather sofas flanked a low table in front of the receptionist, and Wendy chose one.’

  • This works, but it doesn't include two specific meanings of sandwiched: close physical contact, and flat layers. – barbecue Jul 17 '19 at 19:47
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    Flank suggests side-by-side contact, instead of a vertical stacking. And why use it anyway, when sandwich is perfect for the job? – TonyK Jul 18 '19 at 11:11

What you're asking for is a verb, however what you're describing here is the position of things relative to other things. So (in my opinion) what fits better here is a preposition.

"The module consists of three layers: one layer of B, and two adjacent layers of A"

You could also use adjoining:

"The module consists of three layers: one layer of B, with two adjoining layers of A"

  • 3
    These both sound somewhat ambiguous to me as to the ordering of the layers. It's not clear if the adjacent*/*adjoining describes the two layers of A in relation to each other, or each layer of A in relation to the layer of B. – Chris H Jul 18 '19 at 7:43

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