Truncated tetrahedron

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Template:Semireg polyhedron stat table In geometry, the truncated tetrahedron is an Archimedean solid. It has 4 regular hexagonal faces, 4 equilateral triangle faces, 12 vertices and 18 edges (of two types). It can be constructed by truncating all 4 vertices of a regular tetrahedron at one third of the original edge length.

A deeper truncation, removing a tetrahedron of half the original edge length from each vertex, is called rectification. The rectification of a tetrahedron produces an octahedron.[1]

A truncated tetrahedron is the Goldberg polyhedron GIII(1,1), containing triangular and hexagonal faces.

A truncated tetrahedron can be called a cantic cube, with Coxeter diagram, Template:CDD, having half of the vertices of the cantellated cube (rhombicuboctahedron), Template:CDD. There are two dual positions of this construction, and combining them creates the uniform compound of two truncated tetrahedra.

Area and volume

The area A and the volume V of a truncated tetrahedron of edge length a are:

Densest Packing

The densest packing of the Archimedean truncated tetrahedron is believed to be Φ = 207/208, as reported by two independent groups using Monte Carlo methods.[2][3] Although no mathematical proof exists that this is the best possible packing for those shapes, the high proximity to the unity and independency of the findings make it unlikely that an even denser packing is to be found. In fact, if the truncation of the corners is slightly smaller than that of an Archimedean truncated tetrahedron, this new shape can be used to completely fill space.[2]

Cartesian coordinates

Cartesian coordinates for the 12 vertices of a truncated tetrahedron centered at the origin, with edge length √8, are all permutations of (±1,±1,±3) with an even number of minus signs:

  • (+3,+1,+1), (+1,+3,+1), (+1,+1,+3)
  • (−3,−1,+1), (−1,−3,+1), (−1,−1,+3)
  • (−3,+1,−1), (−1,+3,−1), (−1,+1,−3)
  • (+3,−1,−1), (+1,−3,−1), (+1,−1,−3)
Truncated tetrahedron in unit cube.png Triangulated truncated tetrahedron.png UC54-2 truncated tetrahedra.png
Orthogonal projection showing Cartesian coordinates inside it bounding box: (±3,±3,±3). The hexagonal faces of the truncated tetrahedra can be divided into 6 coplanar equilateral triangles. The 4 new vertices have Cartesian coordinates:
(-1,-1,-1), (-1,+1,+1),
(+1,-1,+1), (+1,+1,-1).
The set of vertex permutations (±1,±1,±3) with an odd number of minus signs forms a complementary truncated tetrahedron, and combined they form a uniform compound polyhedron.

Another simple construction exists in 4-space as cells of the truncated 16-cell, with vertices as coordinate permutation of:


Orthogonal projection

Orthogonal projection
Centered by Edge normal Face normal Edge Face/vertex
Image Tetrahedron t01 ae.png Tetrahedron t01 af36.png 3-simplex t01.svg 3-simplex t01 A2.svg
Dual image Dual tetrahedron t01 ae.png Dual tetrahedron t01 af36.png Dual tetrahedron t01.png Dual tetrahedron t01 A2.png
[1] [1] [3] [4]

Spherical tiling

The truncated tetrahedron can also be represented as a spherical tiling, and projected onto the plane via a stereographic projection. This projection is conformal, preserving angles but not areas or lengths. Straight lines on the sphere are projected as circular arcs on the plane.

Uniform tiling 332-t12.png Truncated tetrahedron stereographic projection triangle.png
Truncated tetrahedron stereographic projection hexagon.png
Orthographic projection Stereographic projections

Friauf polyhedron

A lower symmetry version of the truncated tetrahedron (a truncated tetragonal disphenoid with order 8 D2d symmetry) is called a Friauf polyhedron in crystals such as complex metallic alloys. This form fits 5 Friauf polyhedra around an axis, giving a 72 degree dihedral angle on a subset of 6-6 edges.[4] Its named after J. B. Friauf and his 1927 paper The crystal structure of the intermetallic compound MgCu2. [5]

Use in architecture

Giant truncated tetrahedra were used for the "Man the Explorer" and "Man the Producer" theme pavilions in Expo 67. They were made of massive girders of steel bolted together in a geometric lattice. The truncated tetrahedra were interconnected with lattice steel platforms. All of these buildings were demolished after the end of Expo 67, as they had not been built to withstand the severity of the Montreal weather over the years. Their only remnants are in the Montreal city archives, the Public Archives Of Canada and the photo collections of tourists of the times.[6]

Truncated tetrahedral graph

Template:Infobox graph In the mathematical field of graph theory, a truncated tetrahedral graph is a Archimedean graph, the graph of vertices and edges of the truncated tetrahedron, one of the Archimedean solids. It has 12 vertices and 18 edges.[7] It is a connected cubic graph,[8] and connected cubic transitive graph.[9]

Circular Orthographic projections
Truncated tetrahedral graph.circo.svg 3-simplex t01.svg
4-fold symmetry
3-simplex t01 A2.svg
3-fold symmetry

Related polyhedra and tilings

Template:Tetrahedron family

Template:Octahedral truncations

Dimensional family of cantic polyhedra and tilings: 3.6.n.6
= [(n,3,3)]
Spherical Planar Hyperbolic...
Uniform polyhedron-33-t12.png
Uniform tiling 333-t12.png
H2 tiling 334-6.png
H2 tiling 33i-6.png
= Template:CDD
= Template:CDD
= Template:CDD
= Template:CDD
Dual figure Triakistetrahedron.jpg
Rhombic star tiling.png
Uniform dual tiling 433-t12.png

Coxeter Template:CDD Template:CDD Template:CDD Template:CDD

This polyhedron is topologically related as a part of sequence of uniform truncated polyhedra with vertex configurations (3.2n.2n), and [n,3] Coxeter group symmetry.

Template:Truncated figure1 table

See also


  1. Template:Cite web
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite web
  5. Friauf, J. B. The crystal structure of the intermetallic compound MgCu2 (1927) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 19, 3107-3114.
  7. An Atlas of Graphs, page=267, truncated tetrahedral graph
  8. An Atlas of Graphs, page=130, connected cubic graphs, 12 vertices, C105
  9. An Atlas of Graphs, page=161, connected cubic transitive graphs, 12 vertices, Ct11
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External links

Template:Archimedean solids Template:Polyhedron navigator