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Q:

# What is the difference between a prism and a pyramid?

A:

A prism has a polygonal base and a face opposite and congruent to the base, while a pyramid has a polygonal base and an apex at the opposite side. The edge of the pyramid's base and its apex form a triangle, and the number of sides of its base dictate how many triangular faces are present in the pyramid.

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The confusion between a prism and a pyramid lies in the fact that both are polyhedrons, which are three-dimensional solids characterized by flat faces, sharp corners and edges that are linear. The difference is the existence of a face opposite to the polygonal base. If the base of the polyhedron is opposite to a face with the same shape and size as the base, the object is a prism. However, if the solid's base is opposite to a point called the apex, then the figure is a pyramid.

Another reason for the confusion is the shape of most tangible prisms. The most common type of prism is the triangular prism, which is composed of a triangular base, a congruent face atop it and three rectangular faces. If the viewer looks through the prism with the base in front, the shape looks like a three-dimensional triangular structure, which is often attributed to a pyramid.

The nomenclature for both solids is based on the shape of the base. If the base is in the shape of a triangle, then the solids formed are a triangular prism and a triangular pyramid. If the base is a regular five-sided polygon, the figures are called pentagonal prism and pentagonal pyramid.

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## Related Questions

• A:

Multiply the length of each side of the triangle by the depth of the prism separately, then multiply the base of the triangle by its height. Add these four figures together.

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• A:

The formula for calculating the total surface area of a pyramid is: S = (1/2)Pl + B. The surface area of a pyramid is the total sum of the lateral area combined with the area of the base.

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• A:

The surface area of a rectangular pyramid is found by adding the area of the base to the combined area of the four triangular sides. The area of the base is found by multiplying length times width. The area of each triangle is found by multiplying 1/2 base times height.