It has two distinct forms, which are mirror images (or "enantiomorphs") of each other. The union of both forms is a compound of two snub dodecahedra, and the convex hull of both forms is a truncated icosidodecahedron.
M1 represents the rotation around the axis (0,1,φ) through an angle of 2π/5 counterclockwise, while M2 being a cyclic shift of (x,y,z) represents the rotation around the axis (1,1,1) through an angle of 2π/3. Then the 60 vertices of the snub dodecahedron are the 60 images of point p under repeated multiplication by M1 and/or M2, iterated to convergence. (The matrices M1 and M2 generate the 60 rotation matrices corresponding to the 60 rotational symmetries of a regular icosahedron.) The coordinates of the vertices are integral linear combinations of 1, φ, ξ, φξ, ξ2 and φξ2. The edge length equals
Negating all coordinates gives the mirror image of this snub dodecahedron.
As a volume, the snub dodecahedron consists of 80 triangular and 12 pentagonal pyramids. The volume V3 of one triangular pyramid is given by:
The midradius equals ξ. This gives an interesting geometrical interpretation of the number ξ. The 20 "icosahedral" triangles of the snub dodecahedron described above are coplanar with the faces of a regular icosahedron. The midradius of this "circumscribed" icosahedron equals 1. This means that ξ is the ratio between the midradii of a snub dodecahedron and the icosahedron in which it is inscribed.
There are two inscribed spheres, one touching the triangular faces, and one, slightly smaller, touching the pentagonal faces. Their radii are, respectively:
The snub dodecahedron has the highest sphericity of all Archimedean solids. If sphericity is defined as the ratio of volume squared over surface area cubed, multiplied by a constant of 36π (where this constant makes the sphericity of a sphere equal to 1), the sphericity of the snub dodecahedron is about 0.947.
The snub dodecahedron can be generated by taking the twelve pentagonal faces of the dodecahedron and pulling them outward so they no longer touch. At a proper distance this can create the rhombicosidodecahedron by filling in square faces between the divided edges and triangle faces between the divided vertices. But for the snub form, pull the pentagonal faces out slightly less, only add the triangle faces and leave the other gaps empty (the other gaps are rectangles at this point). Then apply an equal rotation to the centers of the pentagons and triangles, continuing the rotation until the gaps can be filled by two equilateral triangles. (The fact that the proper amount to pull the faces out is less in the case of the snub dodecahedron can be seen in either of two ways: the circumradius of the snub dodecahedron is smaller than that of the icosidodecahedron; or, the edge length of the equilateral triangles formed by the divided vertices increases when the pentagonal faces are rotated.)
The snub dodecahedron can also be derived from the truncated icosidodecahedron by the process of alternation. Sixty of the vertices of the truncated icosidodecahedron form a polyhedron topologically equivalent to one snub dodecahedron; the remaining sixty form its mirror-image. The resulting polyhedron is vertex-transitive but not uniform.
This semiregular polyhedron is a member of a sequence of snubbed polyhedra and tilings with vertex figure (188.8.131.52.n) and Coxeter–Dynkin diagram . These figures and their duals have (n32) rotational symmetry, being in the Euclidean plane for n = 6, and hyperbolic plane for any higher n. The series can be considered to begin with n = 2, with one set of faces degenerated into digons.
In the mathematical field of graph theory, a snub dodecahedral graph is the graph of vertices and edges of the snub dodecahedron, one of the Archimedean solids. It has 60 vertices and 150 edges, and is an Archimedean graph.