ISEE Upper Level Math : How to find the surface area of a tetrahedron

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Upper Level Math

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : How To Find The Surface Area Of A Tetrahedron

A regular tetrahedron has edges of length 4. What is its surface area?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

A regular tetrahedron has four faces, each of which is an equilateral triangle. Therefore, its surface area, given sidelength , is 

.

Substitute :

Example Question #2 : How To Find The Surface Area Of A Tetrahedron

A regular tetrahedron comprises four faces, each of which is an equilateral triangle. Each edge has length 16. What is its surface area?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The area of each face of a regular tetrahedron, that face being an equilateral triangle, is 

Substitute edge length 16 for :

The tetrahedron has four faces, so the total surface area is 

Example Question #3 : How To Find The Surface Area Of A Tetrahedron

In three-dimensional space, the four vertices of a tetrahedron - a solid with four faces - have Cartesian coordinates .

What is the surface area of this tetrahedron?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The tetrahedron looks like this:

Tetrahedron

 is the origin and  are the other three points, which are each twelve units away from the origin on one of the three (mutually perpendicular) axes.

Three of the surfaces are right triangles with two legs of length 12, so the area of each is 

.

The fourth surface, , has three edges each of which is the hypotenuse of an isosceles right triangle with legs 12, so each has length  by the 45-45-90 Theorem. That makes this triangle equilateral, so its area is'

The surface area is therefore

.

Example Question #4 : How To Find The Surface Area Of A Tetrahedron

In three-dimensional space, the four vertices of a tetrahedron - a solid with four faces - have Cartesian coordinates .

In terms of , give the surface area of this tetrahedron.

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The tetrahedron looks like this:

Tetrahedron

 is the origin and  are the other three points, which are  units away from the origin, each along one of the three (perpendicular) axes.

Three of the surfaces are right triangles with two legs of length 12, so the area of each is 

.

The fourth surface, , has three edges each of which is the hypotenuse of an isosceles right triangle with legs , so each has length  by the 45-45-90 Theorem. That makes this triangle equilateral, so its area is'

The surface area is therefore

.

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