What is a polyhedron?
We can at least say that a polyhedron is built up from different kinds of element or entity,each associated with a different number of dimensions:
3 dimensions: The
is bounded by the faces, and is usually the volume insidethem.
2 dimensions: A
is bounded by a circuit of edges, and is usually a flat (plane)region called a
. The faces together make up the polyhedral
1 dimension: An
joins one vertex to another and one face to another, and isusually alineof some kind. The edges together make up the polyhedral
0 dimensions: A
-1 dimension: The
is a kind of non-entity required byabstracttheories.More generally inmathematicsand other disciplines, "polyhedron" is used to refer to avariety of related constructs, some geometric and others purely algebraic or abstract.A defining characteristic of almost all kinds of polyhedra is that just two faces join alongany common edge. This ensures that the polyhedral surface is continuously connected anddoes not end abruptly or split off in different directions.A polyhedron is a 3-dimensional example of the more general polytopein any number of
Polyhedra are often named according to the number of faces. The naming system is again based on Classical Greek, for exampletetrahedron (4), pentahedron(5), hexahedron(6),
heptahedron(7),triacontahedron(30), and so on.
Often this is qualified by a description of the kinds of faces present, for example theRhombic dodecahedronvs. thePentagonal dodecahedron.
Other common names indicate that some operation has been performed on a simpler polyhedron, for example thetruncated cube looks like a cube with its corners cut off, and
has 14 faces (so it is also an example of a tetrakaidecahedron).Some special polyhedra have grown their own names over the years, such as Miller'smonster or theSzilassi polyhedron.
Edges have two important characteristics (unless the polyhedron is complex):