People often come across the pyramid and prism shaped things but they get confused about what shape it is. The properties and characteristics of these shapes are not known in the day to day 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 apex. A prism, on the other hand, is a 3D structure having two bases and rectangular sides.

## Key Takeaways

- 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.
- Pyramids are typically used in architecture and have a symbolic or decorative purpose; prisms can be used in optics, geometry, or as building blocks in construction.
- Pyramids have a point or apex, while prisms have two identical, parallel faces at opposite ends.

**Pyramid vs Prism**

The difference between pyramids and prisms is that a pyramid is a three-dimensional polyhedron shaped structure with a single base that is polygonal in shape and is attached to the sides of the pyramid, the sides of the pyramid are always triangular.

On the other hand, a prism is also a 3D polyhedron with two bases that are identical to each other, the sides of a prism are perpendicular to its base and the cross-section is the same across all sides in the prism.

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**Comparison Table**

Parameter of Comparison | Pyramids | Prisms |
---|---|---|

Basic definition | A pyramid is a three dimensional polyhedron shaped structure with only one polygonal base and has triangular sides. | A prism is a three dimensional polyhedron characterized by two bases which are polygonal in shape and rectangular sides perpendicular to the base. |

Number and shape of the bases | A 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 in shape joined at a point known as the apex. | The sides of a prism are always rectangular in shape and are perpendicular to the base. |

Presence of an apex | A pyramid is characterized by the presence of an apex. | Prism does not have an apex. |

Types | There are different types of pyramids depending on the shape of its base 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 having only one base which is in the shape of a polygon. It always has triangular shaped sides.

All the sides of the pyramid are always joined with one another at a point which is known as a vertex or an apex. A pyramid always has an apex which is located just above the center of the base.

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 the pyramid is the great pyramids of Giza located in Egypt. They are characterized by most of their weight lying close to the ground.

**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 and the sides are perpendicular to the base. However, if the sides are not perpendicular to the base then it is named as 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 pf the prism and can be seen from the other side.

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

The types of a prism is determined by the shape of its base. Some examples are triangular prism, pentagonal prism, hexagonal prism and so on. Prism is of utmost importance in geometry and optics.

Prism plays a vital role in the studies related to the reflection, refraction and splitting of the light.

**Main Differences Between Pyramids and Prisms **

- Pyramid and prism both are three dimensional polyhedron shaped structures and the major difference lies in their base.
- A pyramid has only one base, on the other hand, a prism is characterized by two bases.
- The base of a pyramid and a prism is polygonal in shape.
- The sides of a pyramid are always triangular in shape, on the other hand, the sides of a prism are always rectangular in shape.
- 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.
- 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 to each other at a point.
- The point of junction of all the sides of a pyramid is termed as an apex or vertex and it is vertically above the center of the base whereas there is no such point in a prism.
- The type of a pyramid or prism is dependent on the shape of their bases.
- There are the triangular pyramid or prism, pentagonal pyramid or prism, hexagonal pyramid or prism, etc.
- A pyramid is related to the field of geometry, on the other hand, a prism is related to the field of geometry as well as optics.

**References**

Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.