Everyday examples of prisms

Written by steve johnson | 13/05/2017
Everyday examples of prisms
Boxes are common household objects that are prism shapes. (box image by Bartlomiej Nowak from Fotolia.com)

People encounter many different three-dimensional-object shapes every day. Normally, these objects are taken for granted, and few people realise that some objects are prisms. Prisms make up the shape of many ordinary objects. Although there are different types of prisms, the only real requirement to qualify as a prism is that the object should have an identical cross section along its length. Next time you take a look around, at home or outdoors, and glance at the shapes of objects, you might notice a few more prisms than you thought you would.

Triangular Prism

Having an identical cross section means that if you take a knife and slice the prism straight across from the top, both pieces will still be identical in shape. One common example is the triangular prism. The triangular prism features the triangle shape extended throughout the length of the object. A common triangular prism example is the Toblerone chocolate bar. The Toblerone chocolate bar comes in a box that is made up of a triangular prism, featuring the logo of the chocolate candy.

Square and Rectangular Prisms

Boxes exist everywhere. Whether you're opening, boxing or purchasing a package, chances are you'll encounter a rectangular or square prism on a daily basis. Boxes maintain a square or rectangular three-dimensional shape, and no matter where it is sliced---assuming the slice is vertical from the top---the edges of the boxes will still be identical in dimension.

The majority of large or expensive products also come in prisms. Rectangular and square boxes can even be seen on a large-scale setting, as in buildings. Because many buildings are proportional on all sides from top to bottom and front to back, they are large-scale prisms.

Cylinder and Hexagonal Prisms

Many objects occupy the category of cylindrical prisms, as well as hexagonal prisms. The majority of pens have a cylindrical---or nearly cylindrical---prism shape. Pencils are hexagonal prisms that are used everywhere, especially in schools. Some trees are very close to being perfect cylinder prisms. Drinking glasses as well as many bottles also form vertical prisms.

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