# Prism (geometry)

In geometry, a **prism** is a polyhedron comprising an *n*-sided * polygon base*, a second base which is a

*(rigidly moved without rotation) of the first, and*

**translated copy***n*other faces, necessarily all

*, joining corresponding sides of the two bases. All cross-sections parallel to the bases are translations of the bases. Prisms are named after their bases; example: a prism with a pentagonal base is called a pentagonal prism. Prisms are a subclass of prismatoids.*

**parallelograms**Like many basic geometric terms, the word *prism* (Greek: πρίσμα, romanized: *prisma*, lit. 'something sawed') was first used in Euclid's Elements. Euclid defined the term in Book XI as “a solid figure contained by two opposite, equal and parallel planes, while the rest are parallelograms”. However, this definition has been criticized for not being specific enough in relation to the nature of the bases, which caused confusion among later geometry writers.^{[3]}^{[4]}

An **oblique prism** is a prism in which the joining edges and faces are * not perpendicular* to the base faces.

Example: a parallelepiped is an oblique prism of which the base is a parallelogram, or equivalently a polyhedron with six faces which are all parallelograms.

A **right prism** is a prism in which the joining edges and faces are * perpendicular* to the base faces.

^{[2]}This applies iff all the joining faces are

*.*

**rectangular**Note: some texts may apply the term *rectangular prism* or *square prism* to both a right rectangular-based prism and a right square-based prism.

A **uniform prism** or **semiregular prism** is a * right prism* with

*and*

**regular bases***, since such prisms are in the set of uniform polyhedra.*

**square sides**Right prisms with regular bases and equal edge lengths form one of the two infinite series of semiregular polyhedra, the other series being antiprisms.

The volume of a prism is the product of the area of the base and the distance between the two base faces, or the height (in the case of a non-right prism, note that this means the perpendicular distance).

where *B* is the base area and *h* is the height. The volume of a prism whose base is an *n*-sided regular polygon with side length *s* is therefore:

where *B* is the area of the base, *h* the height, and *P* the base perimeter.

The surface area of a right prism whose base is a regular *n*-sided polygon with side length *s* and height *h* is therefore:

The symmetry group of a right *n*-sided prism with regular base is D_{nh} of order 4*n*, except in the case of a cube, which has the larger symmetry group O_{h} of order 48, which has three versions of D_{4h} as subgroups. The rotation group is D_{n} of order 2*n*, except in the case of a cube, which has the larger symmetry group O of order 24, which has three versions of D_{4} as subgroups.

The hosohedra and dihedra also possess dihedral symmetry, and an *n*-gonal prism can be constructed via the geometrical truncation of an *n*-gonal hosohedron, as well as through the cantellation or expansion of an *n*-gonal dihedron.

A **truncated prism** is a prism with non-parallel top and bottom faces.^{[5]}

A **twisted prism** is a nonconvex polyhedron constructed from a uniform *n*-prism with each side face bisected on the square diagonal, by twisting the top, usually by π/*n* radians (180/*n* degrees) in the same direction, causing sides to be concave.^{[6]}^{[7]}

A twisted prism cannot be dissected into tetrahedra without adding new vertices. The smallest case: the triangular form, is called a Schönhardt polyhedron.

An *n*-gonal *twisted prism* is topologically identical to the *n*-gonal uniform antiprism, but has half the symmetry group: D_{n}, [*n*,2]^{+}, order 2*n*. It can be seen as a nonconvex antiprism, with tetrahedra removed between pairs of triangles.

A frustum is a similar construction to a prism, with trapezoid lateral faces and differently sized top and bottom polygons.

A **crossed prism** is a nonconvex polyhedron constructed from a prism, where the vertices of one base are inverted around the center of this base (or rotated by 180°). This transforms the side rectangular faces into crossed rectangles. For a regular polygon base, the appearance is an *n*-gonal hour glass. All oblique edges pass through a single body center. Note: no vertex is at this body centre. A crossed prism is topologically identical to an *n*-gonal prism.

A **toroidal prism** is a nonconvex polyhedron like a *crossed prism*, but without bottom and top base faces, and with simple rectangular side faces closing the polyhedron. This can only be done for even-sided base polygons. These are topological tori, with Euler characteristic of zero. The topological polyhedral net can be cut from two rows of a square tiling (with vertex configuration *4.4.4.4*): a band of *n* squares, each attached to a crossed rectangle. An *n*-gonal toroidal prism has 2*n* vertices, 2*n* faces: *n* squares and *n* crossed rectangles, and 4*n* edges. It is topologically self-dual.

A *prismatic polytope* is a higher-dimensional generalization of a prism. An *n*-dimensional prismatic polytope is constructed from two (*n* − 1)-dimensional polytopes, translated into the next dimension.

The prismatic *n*-polytope elements are doubled from the (*n* − 1)-polytope elements and then creating new elements from the next lower element.

Take an *n*-polytope with *f _{i}*

*i*-face elements (

*i*= 0, ...,

*n*). Its (

*n*+ 1)-polytope prism will have 2

*f*

_{i}+

*f*

_{i−1}

*i*-face elements. (With

*f*

_{−1}= 0,

*f*

_{n}= 1.)