Pyramid (geometry)

Pyramid (geometry)

:"This article is about the polyhedron pyramid (a 3-dimensional shape); for other versions including architectural Pyramids, see Pyramid (disambiguation)."An "n"-sided pyramid is a polyhedron formed by connecting an "n"-sided polygonal base and a point, called the apex, by "n" triangular faces ("n" ≥ 3). In other words, it is a conic solid with polygonal base.

When unspecified, the base is usually assumed to be square. For a triangular pyramid each face can serve as base, with the opposite vertex as apex. The regular tetrahedron, one of the Platonic solids, is a triangular pyramid all of whose faces are equilateral triangles. Besides the triangular pyramid, only the square and pentagonal pyramids can be composed of equilateral triangles, and in that case they are Johnson solids. All pyramids are self-dual.

Pyramids are a subclass of the prismatoids. The 1-skeleton of pyramid is a wheel graph.


The volume of a pyramid is V = frac{1}{3} Bh where "B" is the area of the base and "h" the height from the base to the apex. This works for any location of the apex, provided that "h" is measured as the perpendicular distance from the plane which contains the base.

This can be proven using calculus::It can be proved using similarity that the dimensions of a cross section parallel to the base increase linearly from the apex to the base. Then, the cross section at any height "y" is the base scaled by a factor of frac{h-y}{h}, where "h" is the height from the base to the apex. Since the area of any shape is multiplied by the square of the shape's scaling factor, the area of a cross section at height "y" is frac{A}{h^2}(h-y)^2.:The volume is given by the integral frac{A}{h^2} int_0^h (h-y)^2 , dy = frac{-A}{3h^2} (h-y)^3 igg|_0^h = frac{1}{3}Ah.

(Trivially, the volume of a square-based pyramid with an apex half the height of its base can be seen to correspond to one sixth of a cube formed by fitting six such pyramids (in opposite pairs) about a center. Since the "base times height" then corresponds to one half of the cube's volume it is therefore three times the volume of the pyramid and the factor of one-third follows.)

Surface area

The surface area of a regular pyramid is A = A_b + frac{ps}{2} where A_b is the area of the base, "p" is the perimeter of the base, and "s" is the slant height along the bisector of a face (ie the length from the midpoint of any edge of the base to the apex).

Pyramids with regular polygon faces

If all faces are regular polygons, the pyramid base can be a regular polygon of 3-, 4- or 5-sided:

ee also

*Cone (geometry)
*Trigonal pyramid (chemistry)

External links

* [ The Uniform Polyhedra]
* [ Angle between surfaces of a pyramid (general analytical solution), Pyramid dimensioning calculator] at []
* [ Virtual Reality Polyhedra] The Encyclopedia of Polyhedra
** VRML models [ (George Hart)] [ <3>] [ <4>] [ <5>]
* [ Paper models of pyramids]

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