In solid geometry, a face is a flat surface that forms part of the boundary of a solid object; a three-dimensional solid bounded exclusively by faces is a polyhedron.
In more technical treatments of the geometry of polyhedra and higher-dimensional polytopes, the term is also used to mean an element of any dimension of a more general polytope.
Polygonal faceIn elementary geometry, a face is a polygon on the boundary of a polyhedron. Other names for a polygonal face include side of a polyhedron, and tile of a Euclidean plane tessellation.
For example, any of the six squares that bound a cube is a face of the cube. Sometimes "face" is also used to refer to the 2-dimensional features of a 4-polytope. With this meaning, the 4-dimensional tesseract has 24 square faces, each sharing two of 8 cubic cells.
|Polyhedron||Star polyhedron||Euclidean tiling||Hyperbolic tiling||4-polytope|
|cube|||Small stellated dodecahedron|||square tiling|||Order-5 square tiling|||tesseract||
The cube has 3 square faces per vertex.
The small stellated dodecahedron has 5 pentagrammic faces per vertex.
The square tiling in the Euclidean plane has 4 square faces per vertex.
The order-5 square tiling has 5 square faces per vertex.
The tesseract has 3 square faces per edge.
Number of polygonal faces of a polyhedronAny convex polyhedron's surface has Euler characteristic
where V is the number of vertices, E is the number of edges, and F is the number of faces. This equation is known as Euler's polyhedron formula. Thus the number of faces is 2 more than the excess of the number of edges over the number of vertices. For example, a cube has 12 edges and 8 vertices, and hence 6 faces.
''k''-faceIn higher-dimensional geometry, the faces of a polytope are features of all dimensions. A face of dimension k is called a k-face. For example, the polygonal faces of an ordinary polyhedron are 2-faces. In set theory, the set of faces of a polytope includes the polytope itself and the empty set, where the empty set is for consistency given a "dimension" of −1. For any n-polytope, −1 ≤ k ≤ n.
For example, with this meaning, the faces of a cube comprise the cube itself, its facets, edges, vertices, and the empty set. The following are the faces of a 4-dimensional polytope:
- 4-face – the 4-dimensional 4-polytope itself
- 3-faces – 3-dimensional cells
- 2-faces – 2-dimensional ridges
- 1-faces – 1-dimensional edges
- 0-faces – 0-dimensional vertices
- the empty set, which has dimension −1
In other areas of mathematics, such as the theories of abstract polytopes and star polytopes, the requirement for convexity is relaxed. Abstract theory still requires that the set of faces include the polytope itself and the empty set.
Cell or 3-faceA cell is a polyhedral element of a 4-dimensional polytope or 3-dimensional tessellation, or higher. Cells are facets for 4-polytopes and 3-honeycombs.
Facet or (''n''-1)-faceIn higher-dimensional geometry, the facets of a n-polytope are the -faces. A polytope is bounded by its facets.
- The facets of a line segment are its 0-faces or vertices.
- The facets of a polygon are its 1-faces or edges.
- The facets of a polyhedron or plane tiling are its 2-faces.
- The facets of a 4D polytope or 3-honeycomb are its 3-faces or cells.
- The facets of a 5D polytope or 4-honeycomb are its 4-faces.
Ridge or (''n''-2)-face
- The ridges of a 2D polygon or 1D tiling are its 0-faces or vertices.
- The ridges of a 3D polyhedron or plane tiling are its 1-faces or edges.
- The ridges of a 4D polytope or 3-honeycomb are its 2-faces or simply faces.
- The ridges of a 5D polytope or 4-honeycomb are its 3-faces or cells.
Peak or (''n''-3)-face
- The peaks of a 3D polyhedron or plane tiling are its 0-faces or vertices.
- The peaks of a 4D polytope or 3-honeycomb are its 1-faces or edges.
- The peaks of a 5D polytope or 4-honeycomb are its 2-faces or simply faces.