Science

Difference between Pyramids and Prisms

Pyramids and prisms are two different types of polyhedra. A polyhedron in geometry is nothing more than a body whose faces are all flat and which contains a finite volume within. Although they are physically similar and share a number of characteristics, it is important to learn to distinguish one from the other.

Comparison chart

Pyramid
Prism
Image
Definition As previously mentioned, it is a polyhedron. This has a simple polygon as a base and a vertex that joins all the faces. These lateral faces are triangles with one side in common with the base. The side that two triangles have in common is called an edge. On the other hand, a prism is another type of polyhedron. 

In this, its base is also a polygon, but unlike a pyramid, a prism does not have a vertex, but rather another base equal to the first. This results in side faces in the form of parallelograms (quadrilateral with pairs of equal and parallel opposite sides) and not triangles.

Characteristics
  • Its base is a simple polyhedron (triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc).
  • Depending on the number of sides of the polyhedron, they will be the number of triangular lateral faces that the pyramid will have. One triangle for each side of the polyhedron.
  • All the triangles meet at a vertex, the apex of the pyramid.
  • The side where each two triangles meet is called the edge. Likewise, each of the sides of the base polyhedron receives the same name. The total number of edges will always be twice the number of sides of the polyhedron.
  • A prism always has a polygonal base. Additionally, it has another congruent base parallel to the first.
  • All its faces are parallelograms; ie squares, rectangles, rhombuses or rhomboids.
  • All the faces of a rectangular or square prism are perpendicular to the faces of the bases.
  • Prisms are named after the parallelogram at their base. For example, rectangular prism, pentagonal prism, etc.
  • Prisms also have edges and vertices.

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