Truncated tetrahedron


Truncated tetrahedron
(Click here for rotating model)
Type Archimedean solid
Uniform polyhedron
Elements F = 8, E = 18, V = 12 (χ = 2)
Faces by sides 4{3}+4{6}
Conway notation tT
Schläfli symbols t{3,3} = h2{4,3}
Wythoff symbol 2 3 | 3
Coxeter diagram CDel node 1.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node 1.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node.png = CDel node h1.pngCDel 4.pngCDel node.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node 1.png
Symmetry group Td, A3, [3,3], (*332), order 24
Rotation group T, [3,3]+, (332), order 12
Dihedral angle 3-6: 109°28′16″
6-6: 70°31′44″
References U02, C16, W6
Properties Semiregular convex
Polyhedron truncated 4a max.png
Colored faces
Polyhedron truncated 4a vertfig.svg
(Vertex figure)
Polyhedron truncated 4a dual max.png
Triakis tetrahedron
(dual polyhedron)
Polyhedron truncated 4a net.svg

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.

3D model of a truncated tetrahedron

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, CDel node h1.pngCDel 4.pngCDel node.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node 1.png, having half of the vertices of the cantellated cube (rhombicuboctahedron), CDel node 1.pngCDel 4.pngCDel node.pngCDel 3.pngCDel node 1.png. There are two dual positions of this construction, and combining them creates the uniform compound of two truncated tetrahedra.

Area and volumeEdit

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


Densest packingEdit

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 the truncated tetrahedron, 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 coordinatesEdit

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)
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). As solid this can represent a 3D dissection making 4 red octahedra and 6 yellow tetrahedra.
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 projectionEdit

Orthogonal projection
Centered by Edge normal Face normal Edge Face
[1] [1] [4] [3]

Spherical tilingEdit

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.

Orthographic projection Stereographic projections

Friauf polyhedronEdit

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] It is named after J. B. Friauf and his 1927 paper "The crystal structure of the intermetallic compound MgCu2".[5]


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]

The Tetraminx puzzle has a truncated tetrahedral shape. This puzzle shows a dissection of a truncated tetrahedron into 4 octahedra and 6 tetrahedra. It contains 4 central planes of rotations.


Truncated tetrahedral graphEdit

Truncated tetrahedral graph
3-fold symmetry
Automorphisms24 (S4)[7]
Chromatic number3[7]
Chromatic index3[7]
PropertiesHamiltonian, regular, 3-vertex-connected, planar graph
Table of graphs and parameters

In the mathematical field of graph theory, a truncated tetrahedral graph is an Archimedean graph, the graph of vertices and edges of the truncated tetrahedron, one of the Archimedean solids. It has 12 vertices and 18 edges.[8] It is a connected cubic graph,[9] and connected cubic transitive graph.[10]

Circular Orthographic projections
4-fold symmetry
3-fold symmetry

Related polyhedra and tilingsEdit

Family of uniform tetrahedral polyhedra
Symmetry: [3,3], (*332) [3,3]+, (332)
{3,3} t{3,3} r{3,3} t{3,3} {3,3} rr{3,3} tr{3,3} sr{3,3}
Duals to uniform polyhedra
V3.3.3 V3.6.6 V3.3.3.3 V3.6.6 V3.3.3 V3.4.3.4 V4.6.6 V3.

It is also a part of a sequence of cantic polyhedra and tilings with vertex configuration 3.6.n.6. In this wythoff construction the edges between the hexagons represent degenerate digons.

*n33 orbifold symmetries of cantic tilings: 3.6.n.6
Spherical Euclidean Hyperbolic Paracompact
*332 *333 *433 *533 *633... *∞33
Cantic figure            
Vertex 3.6..6

Symmetry mutationsEdit

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.

*n32 symmetry mutation of truncated spherical tilings: t{n,3}
Spherical Euclid. Compact hyperb. Paraco.
Symbol t{2,3} t{3,3} t{4,3} t{5,3} t{6,3} t{7,3} t{8,3} t{∞,3}
Config. V3.4.4 V3.6.6 V3.8.8 V3.10.10 V3.12.12 V3.14.14 V3.16.16 V3.∞.∞


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chisholm, Matt; Avnet, Jeremy (1997). "Truncated Trickery: Truncatering". Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  2. ^ a b Damasceno, Pablo F.; Engel, Michael; Glotzer, Sharon C. (2012). "Crystalline Assemblies and Densest Packings of a Family of Truncated Tetrahedra and the Role of Directional Entropic Forces". ACS Nano. 6 (2012): 609–614. arXiv:1109.1323. doi:10.1021/nn204012y. PMID 22098586. S2CID 12785227.
  3. ^ Jiao, Yang; Torquato, Sal (Sep 2011). "A Packing of Truncated Tetrahedra that Nearly Fills All of Space". arXiv:1107.2300 [cond-mat.soft].
  4. ^[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ Friauf, J. B. (1927). "The crystal structure of the intermetallic compound MgCu2". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 49: 3107–3114. doi:10.1021/ja01411a017.
  6. ^ "Expo 67 - Man the Producer - page 1".
  7. ^ a b c d e f An Atlas of Graphs, page=172, C105
  8. ^ An Atlas of Graphs, page 267, truncated tetrahedral graph
  9. ^ An Atlas of Graphs, page 130, connected cubic graphs, 12 vertices, C105
  10. ^ An Atlas of Graphs, page 161, connected cubic transitive graphs, 12 vertices, Ct11
  • Williams, Robert (1979). The Geometrical Foundation of Natural Structure: A Source Book of Design. Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-486-23729-X. (Section 3-9)
  • Read, R. C.; Wilson, R. J. (1998), An Atlas of Graphs, Oxford University Press

External linksEdit

  • Eric W. Weisstein, Truncated tetrahedron (Archimedean solid) at MathWorld.
  • Klitzing, Richard. "3D convex uniform polyhedra x3x3o - tut".
  • Editable printable net of a truncated tetrahedron with interactive 3D view
  • The Uniform Polyhedra
  • Virtual Reality Polyhedra The Encyclopedia of Polyhedra