Pyramid vs Prism: Difference and Comparison

People often come across pyramids and prism-shaped things but get confused about their shape. The properties and characteristics of these shapes are not known in daily life.

They are often confused with one another.

A pyramid is a three-dimensional structure known to have one base, which is polygonal in shape and has triangular aides joined at a vertex known as the apex. A prism, on the other hand, is a 3D structure having two bases and rectangular sides.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pyramids are three-dimensional shapes with a polygonal base and triangular faces that converge at a single point; prisms are also three-dimensional shapes with a polygonal base, but their faces are rectangular and parallel.
  2. Pyramids are used in architecture and have a symbolic or decorative purpose; prisms can be used in optics, geometry, or as building blocks in construction.
  3. Pyramids have a point or apex, while prisms have two identical, parallel faces at opposite ends.

Pyramid vs. Prism

A pyramid is a three-dimensional shape with a polygon as its base and triangular faces that meet at the apex. A prism is a three-dimensional shape with two parallel bases with congruent polygons and rectangular sides connecting the bases.

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Pyramid vs Prism

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPyramidsPrisms
Basic definitionA pyramid is a three-dimensional polyhedron-shaped structure with only one polygonal base and triangular sides.A prism is a three-dimensional polyhedron characterized by two polygonal bases and rectangular sides perpendicular to the base.
Number and shape of the basesA pyramid has only one base, which is polygonal in shape.A prism contains two bases which are also polygonal.
The shape of the sides The sides of a pyramid are triangular, joined at a point known as the apex.The sides of a prism are always rectangular and are perpendicular to the base.
Presence of an apexThe presence of an apex characterizes a pyramid.Prism does not have an apex.
TypesDepending on the shape of their base, there are different types of pyramids, such as the Triangular Pyramid, hexagonal pyramid, pentagonal pyramid, etc.In prisms, the type is determined by the shape of its base. Some types are triangular prism, pentagonal prism, hexagonal prism, etc. 

What is a Pyramid?

A pyramid is a three-dimensional polyhedron structure with only one base in the shape of a polygon. It always has triangular-shaped sides.

All the sides of the pyramid are always joined at a point known as a vertex or an apex. A pyramid always has an apex just above the base’s center. 

There are different types of pyramids based on the shape of their bases. Some of them are the triangular pyramid, pentagonal pyramid, hexagonal pyramid, and so on.

One of the most important real-life examples of a pyramid is the great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. They are characterized by most of their weight lying close to the ground.

Pyramid

What is a Prism?

A prism is also a three-dimensional polyhedron structure, it always has two bases facing each other, and the shape of these bases is polygonal. The sides of a prism are all rectangular-shaped.

These sides are joined with at least two adjacent sides perpendicular to the base. However, if the sides are not perpendicular to the base, it is named an oblique prism.

A prism does not have an apex. 

A prism is generally made up of glass and therefore it is transparent. It has polished surfaces that help in the refraction of light placed on one side of the prism and can be seen from the other side.

Also, the cross-section in a prism is the same on all its sides.

The shape of its base determines the type of prism. Some examples are triangular prism, pentagonal prism, hexagonal prism, etc. Prism is of utmost importance in geometry and optics.

Prism plays a vital role in studying light’s reflection, refraction, and splitting.

Prism

Main Differences Between Pyramids and Prisms 

  1. Pyramids and prisms are three-dimensional polyhedron-shaped structures; the major difference lies in their base.
  2. A pyramid has only one base; conversely, two bases characterize a prism.
  3. The base of a pyramid and a prism is polygonal in shape.
  4. The sides of a pyramid are always triangular; conversely, the prism’s sides are always rectangular.
  5. The sides of a pyramid are inclined at an angle with the base; on the other hand, the sides of a prism are perpendicular to the base.
  6. All the sides of a pyramid are always joined together at a point; on the other hand, all the sides of a prism are not necessarily joined at a point.
  7. The junction point of all the sides of a pyramid is termed an apex or vertex, and it is vertically above the center of the base, whereas there is no such point in a prism.
  8. The type of a pyramid or prism depends on its bases’ shape.
  9. There are the triangular pyramid or prism, pentagonal pyramid or prism, hexagonal pyramid or prism, etc.
  10. A pyramid is related to the field of geometry; conversely, a prism is related to the field of geometry and optics.
Difference Between Pyramid and Prism
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1386947708002488
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