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Geometry (Greek: geo = earth, metria = measure) arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. It was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers. In modern times, geometric concepts have become very complex and abstract and are barely recognizable as the descendants of early geometry.

Research project : history of geometry

Work in pairs or groups and investigate the history of the foundation of geometry. Describe the various stages of development and how the following cultures used geometry to improve their lives. This list should serve as a guideline and provide the minimum requirement, there are many other people who contributed to the foundation of geometry.

  1. Ancient Indian geometry (c. 3000 - 500 B.C.)
    1. Harappan geometry
    2. Vedic geometry
  2. Classical Greek geometry (c. 600 - 300 B.C.)
    1. Thales and Pythagoras
    2. Plato
  3. Hellenistic geometry (c. 300 B.C - 500 C.E.)
    1. Euclid
    2. Archimedes

Right prisms and cylinders

In this section we study how to calculate the surface areas and volumes of right prisms and cylinders. A right prism is a polygon that has been stretched out into a tube so that the height of the tube is perpendicular to the base. A square prism has a base that is a square and a triangular prism has a base that is a triangle.

Examples of a right square prism, a right triangular prism and a cylinder.

It is relatively simple to calculate the surface areas and volumes of prisms.

Surface area

The term surface area refers to the total area of the exposed or outside surfaces of a prism. This is easier to understand if you imagine the prism as a solid object.

If you examine the prisms in [link] , you will see that each face of a prism is a simple polygon. For example, the triangular prism has two faces that are triangles and three faces that are rectangles. Therefore, in order to calculate the surface area of a prism you simply have to calculate the area of each face and add it up. In the case of a cylinder the top and bottom faces are circles, while the curved surface flattens into a rectangle.

Surface Area of Prisms

Calculate the area of each face and add the areas together to get the surface area. To do this you need to determine the correct shape of each and every face of the prism and then for each one determine the surface area. The sum of the surface areas of all the faces will give you the total surface area of the prism.

Discussion : surface areas

In pairs, study the following prisms and the adjacent image showing the various surfaces that make up the prism. Explain to your partner, how each relates to the other.

Surface areas

  1. Calculate the surface area in each of the following:
  2. If a litre of paint covers an area of 2 m 2 , how much paint does a painter need to cover:
    1. A rectangular swimming pool with dimensions 4 m × 3 m × 2 , 5 m , inside walls and floor only.
    2. The inside walls and floor of a circular reservoir with diameter 4 m and height 2 , 5 m


The volume of a right prism is calculated by multiplying the area of the base by the height. So, for a square prism of side length a and height h the volume is a × a × h = a 2 h .

Volume of Prisms

Calculate the area of the base and multiply by the height to get the volume of a prism.


  1. Write down the formula for each of the following volumes:
  2. Calculate the following volumes:
  3. A cube is a special prism that has all edges equal. This means that each face is a square. An example of a cube is a die. Show that for a cube with side length a , the surface area is 6 a 2 and the volume is a 3 .

Now, what happens to the surface area if one dimension is multiplied by a constant? For example, how does the surface area change when the height of a rectangular prism is divided by 2?

Rectangular prisms

Rectangular prisms 2

The size of a prism is specified by the length of its sides. The prism in the diagram has sides of lengths L , b and h .

  1. Consider enlarging all sides of the prism by a constant factor x , where x > 1 . Calculate the volume and surface area of the enlarged prism as a function of the factor x and the volume of the original volume.
  2. In the same way as above now consider the case, where 0 < x < 1 . Now calculate the reduction factor in the volume and the surface area.
  1. The volume of a prism is given by: V = L × b × h

    The surface area of the prism is given by: A = 2 × ( L × b + L × h + b × h )

  2. If all the sides of the prism get rescaled, the new sides will be:

    L ' = x × L b ' = x × b h ' = x × h

    The new volume will then be given by:

    V ' = L ' × b ' × h ' = x × L × x × b × x × h = x 3 × L × b × h = x 3 × V

    The new surface area of the prism will be given by:

    A ' = 2 × ( L ' × b ' + L ' × h ' + b ' × h ' ) = 2 × ( x × L × x × b + x × L × x × h + x × b × x × h ) = x 2 × 2 × ( L × b + L × h + b × h ) = x 2 × A
    1. We found above that the new volume is given by: V ' = x 3 × V Since x > 1 , the volume of the prism will be increased by a factor of x 3 . The surface area of the rescaled prism was given by: A ' = x 2 × A Again, since x > 1 , the surface area will be increased by a factor of x 2 . Surface areas which are two dimensional increase with the square of the factor while volumes, which are three dimensional, increase with the cube of the factor.
    2. The answer here is based on the same ideas as above. In analogy, since here 0 < x < 1 , the volume will be reduced by a factor of x 3 and the surface area will be decreased by a factor of x 2

When the length of one of the sides is multiplied by a constant the effect is to multiply the original volume by that constant, as for the example in [link] .

Questions & Answers

how can chip be made from sand
Eke Reply
is this allso about nanoscale material
are nano particles real
Missy Reply
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
where is the latest information on a no technology how can I find it
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 maths [ncs]. OpenStax CNX. Aug 05, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11239/1.2
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