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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.
    – user13141
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 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. Commented Jan 16, 2012 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. Commented Jan 16, 2012 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. Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 17:58

8 Answers 8

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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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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
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 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? Commented Jan 16, 2012 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
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 10:54
  • @JimiOke Binary composite would definitely work though. Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 10:58
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    Gr8! Then it's simply a binary composite, after all!
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 11:31
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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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Dyadic is the word you're looking for:

of or consisting of a dyad; being a group of two.

source:dictionary.com/dyadic

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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? Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 10:23
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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. Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 15:41
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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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The following come to my mind..

  1. Composite (non-metals)
  2. Alloy or eutectic ( metals)
  3. Compound
  4. Mixture
  5. Hybrid
  6. Combo (edible)

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