In more technical treatments of the geometry of polyhedra and higher-dimensional polytopes, the term is also used to mean an element of any dimension of a more general polytope (in any number of dimensions).
For example, any of the six squares that bound a cube is a face of the cube. Sometimes "face" is also used to refer to the 2-dimensional features of a 4-polytope. With this meaning, the 4-dimensional tesseract has 24 square faces, each sharing two of 8 cubic cells.
where V is the number of vertices, E is the number of edges, and F is the number of faces. This equation is known as Euler's polyhedron formula. Thus the number of faces is 2 more than the excess of the number of edges over the number of vertices. For example, a cube has 12 edges and 8 vertices, and hence 6 faces.
In higher-dimensional geometry, the faces of a polytope are features of all dimensions. A face of dimension k is called a k-face. For example, the polygonal faces of an ordinary polyhedron are 2-faces. In set theory, the set of faces of a polytope includes the polytope itself and the empty set, where the empty set is for consistency given a "dimension" of −1. For any n-polytope (n-dimensional polytope), −1 ≤ k ≤ n.
For example, with this meaning, the faces of a cube comprise the cube itself (3-face), its (square) facets (2-faces), (linear) edges (1-faces), (point) vertices (0-faces), and the empty set. The following are the faces of a 4-dimensional polytope:
In some areas of mathematics, such as polyhedral combinatorics, a polytope is by definition convex. Formally, a face of a polytope P is the intersection of P with any closed halfspace whose boundary is disjoint from the interior of P. From this definition it follows that the set of faces of a polytope includes the polytope itself and the empty set.
In other areas of mathematics, such as the theories of abstract polytopes and star polytopes, the requirement for convexity is relaxed. Abstract theory still requires that the set of faces include the polytope itself and the empty set.
In higher-dimensional geometry, the facets (also called hyperfaces) of a n-polytope are the (n-1)-faces (faces of dimension one less than the polytope itself). A polytope is bounded by its facets.
In related terminology, the (n − 2)-faces of an n-polytope are called ridges (also subfacets). A ridge is seen as the boundary between exactly two facets of a polytope or honeycomb.
The (n − 3)-faces of an n-polytope are called peaks. A peak contains a rotational axis of facets and ridges in a regular polytope or honeycomb.