# Volume of a Prism - Formula, Derivation, Definition, Examples

A prism is a vital shape in geometry. The figure’s name is derived from the fact that it is created by considering a polygonal base and extending its sides until it creates an equilibrium with the opposing base.

This blog post will discuss what a prism is, its definition, different types, and the formulas for volume and surface area. We will also give examples of how to use the details provided.

## What Is a Prism?

A prism is a three-dimensional geometric figure with two congruent and parallel faces, called bases, which take the shape of a plane figure. The additional faces are rectangles, and their number depends on how many sides the similar base has. For example, if the bases are triangular, the prism would have three sides. If the bases are pentagons, there will be five sides.

### Definition

The characteristics of a prism are fascinating. The base and top both have an edge in parallel with the other two sides, creating them congruent to each other as well! This means that all three dimensions - length and width in front and depth to the back - can be deconstructed into these four parts:

A lateral face (meaning both height AND depth)

Two parallel planes which make up each base

An illusory line standing upright across any given point on either side of this shape's core/midline—usually known collectively as an axis of symmetry

Two vertices (the plural of vertex) where any three planes join

### Kinds of Prisms

There are three major kinds of prisms:

Rectangular prism

Triangular prism

Pentagonal prism

The rectangular prism is a regular type of prism. It has six faces that are all rectangles. It looks like a box.

The triangular prism has two triangular bases and three rectangular sides.

The pentagonal prism consists of two pentagonal bases and five rectangular faces. It seems a lot like a triangular prism, but the pentagonal shape of the base sets it apart.

## The Formula for the Volume of a Prism

Volume is a measurement of the total amount of space that an object occupies. As an essential figure in geometry, the volume of a prism is very important for your studies.

The formula for the volume of a rectangular prism is V=B*h, assuming,

V = Volume

B = Base area

h= Height

Ultimately, since bases can have all kinds of figures, you will need to retain few formulas to calculate the surface area of the base. Still, we will go through that afterwards.

### The Derivation of the Formula

To derive the formula for the volume of a rectangular prism, we have to look at a cube. A cube is a three-dimensional object with six sides that are all squares. The formula for the volume of a cube is V=s^3, where,

V = Volume

s = Side length

Immediately, we will take a slice out of our cube that is h units thick. This slice will by itself be a rectangular prism. The volume of this rectangular prism is B*h. The B in the formula stands for the base area of the rectangle. The h in the formula stands for height, that is how dense our slice was.

Now that we have a formula for the volume of a rectangular prism, we can use it on any kind of prism.

### Examples of How to Use the Formula

Since we have the formulas for the volume of a rectangular prism, triangular prism, and pentagonal prism, let’s put them to use.

First, let’s work on the volume of a rectangular prism with a base area of 36 square inches and a height of 12 inches.

V=B*h

V=36*12

V=432 square inches

Now, consider another problem, let’s work on the volume of a triangular prism with a base area of 30 square inches and a height of 15 inches.

V=Bh

V=30*15

V=450 cubic inches

As long as you possess the surface area and height, you will calculate the volume with no issue.

## The Surface Area of a Prism

Now, let’s discuss about the surface area. The surface area of an object is the measurement of the total area that the object’s surface comprises of. It is an important part of the formula; thus, we must learn how to find it.

There are a several distinctive methods to figure out the surface area of a prism. To measure the surface area of a rectangular prism, you can use this: A=2(lb + bh + lh), assuming,

l = Length of the rectangular prism

b = Breadth of the rectangular prism

h = Height of the rectangular prism

To compute the surface area of a triangular prism, we will employ this formula:

SA=(S1+S2+S3)L+bh

assuming,

b = The bottom edge of the base triangle,

h = height of said triangle,

l = length of the prism

S1, S2, and S3 = The three sides of the base triangle

bh = the total area of the two triangles, or [2 × (1/2 × bh)] = bh

We can also use SA = (Perimeter of the base × Length of the prism) + (2 × Base area)

### Example for Finding the Surface Area of a Rectangular Prism

First, we will determine the total surface area of a rectangular prism with the following dimensions.

l=8 in

b=5 in

h=7 in

To calculate this, we will replace these numbers into the corresponding formula as follows:

SA = 2(lb + bh + lh)

SA = 2(8*5 + 5*7 + 8*7)

SA = 2(40 + 35 + 56)

SA = 2 × 131

SA = 262 square inches

### Example for Computing the Surface Area of a Triangular Prism

To calculate the surface area of a triangular prism, we will work on the total surface area by ensuing identical steps as before.

This prism consists of a base area of 60 square inches, a base perimeter of 40 inches, and a length of 7 inches. Thus,

SA=(Perimeter of the base × Length of the prism) + (2 × Base Area)

Or,

SA = (40*7) + (2*60)

SA = 400 square inches

With this data, you should be able to figure out any prism’s volume and surface area. Try it out for yourself and observe how simple it is!

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