In geometry, a rhombohedron (also called a rhombic hexahedron) is a three-dimensional figure like a cuboid (also called a rectangular parallelepiped), except that its faces are not rectangles but rhombi. It is a special case of a parallelepiped where all edges are the same length. It can be used to define the rhombohedral lattice system, a honeycomb with rhombohedral cells.
In general a rhombohedron can have up to three types of rhombic faces in congruent opposite pairs, Ci symmetry, order 2.
Four points forming non-adjacent vertices of a rhombohedron necessarily form the four vertices of an orthocentric tetrahedron, and all orthocentric tetrahedra can be formed in this way.
Rhombohedral lattice system
The rhombohedral lattice system has rhombohedral cells, with 3 pairs of unique rhombic faces:
Special cases by symmetry
Special cases of the rhombohedron
||Right rhombic prism
||Oblique rhombic prism
||6 congruent rhombi
||2 rhombi, 4 squares
- Cube: with Oh symmetry, order 48. All faces are squares.
- Trigonal trapezohedron (also called isohedral rhombohedron, or rhombic hexahedron): with D3d symmetry, order 12. All non-obtuse internal angles of the faces are equal (all faces are congruent rhombi). This can be seen by stretching a cube on its body-diagonal axis. For example, a regular octahedron with two regular tetrahedra attached on opposite faces constructs a 60 degree trigonal trapezohedron.
- Right rhombic prism: with D2h symmetry, order 8. It is constructed by two rhombi and four squares. This can be seen by stretching a cube on its face-diagonal axis. For example, two right prisms with regular triangular bases attached together makes a 60 degree right rhombic prism.
- Oblique rhombic prism: with C2h symmetry, order 4. It has only one plane of symmetry, through four vertices, and six rhombic faces.
For a unit (i.e.: with side length 1) isohedral rhombohedron, with rhombic acute angle , with one vertex at the origin (0, 0, 0), and with one edge lying along the x-axis, the three generating vectors are
- e1 :
- e2 :
- e3 :
The other coordinates can be obtained from vector addition of the 3 direction vectors: e1 + e2 , e1 + e3 , e2 + e3 , and e1 + e2 + e3 .
The volume of an isohedral rhombohedron, in terms of its side length and its rhombic acute angle , is a simplification of the volume of a parallelepiped, and is given by
We can express the volume another way :
As the area of the (rhombic) base is given by , and as the height of a rhombohedron is given by its volume divided by the area of its base, the height of an isohedral rhombohedron in terms of its side length and its rhombic acute angle is given by
- 3 , where 3 is the third coordinate of e3 .
The body diagonal between the acute-angled vertices is the longest. By rotational symmetry about that diagonal, the other three body diagonals, between the three pairs of opposite obtuse-angled vertices, are all the same length.