Rectangular Prism – Definition with Examples

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A rectangular prism is a three-dimensional solid shape with six faces that including rectangular bases.

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A cuboid is also a rectangular prism. The cross-section of a cuboid and a rectangular prism is the same.

Real-Life Examples

A pencil box and a book are rectangular prisms. It may surprise you, but your room is also a cuboid or a rectangular prism. 

Rectangular Prism Around Us - SplashLearn

Source

Properties of a Rectangular Prism:

  • A rectangular prism has 8 vertices, 12 sides and 6 rectangular faces.
  • All the opposite faces of a rectangular prism are congruent.
  • A rectangular prism has a rectangular cross section.

Types of Rectangular Prisms

There are two types of rectangular prisms: 

  1. Right Rectangular Prism: The angle formed by the faces with any of its bases is 90° or a right angle. All the faces, including the lateral ones, are rectangular.
  2. Non-Right (Oblique) Rectangular Prism: The faces of such a prism are not at right angles to the bases. The shape of each face is more like a parallelogram than a perfect rectangle.

Surface Area and Volume of a Rectangular Prism

The rectangular prism has three dimensions. It means that it has a surface area and volume.

Surface Area and Volume of a Rectangular Prism - SplashLearn

Since all the faces of a rectangular prism are rectangles and opposite faces are equal, the surface area of a rectangular prism can be calculated using the following formula:

Total Surface Area = 2 {( width x length ) + ( length x height ) + (width x height )}

Lateral Surface Area = 2 {( length x height ) + (width x height )}

Volume of a rectangular prism is simply obtained by multiplying all three dimensions – length, height and width.

Volume = length x width x height

Fun Facts

– Rectangular prisms are the most commonly used prisms in real life, especially in packaging, from cereal boxes to cartons and parcels delivered by mail. 

Solved Examples

  1. Find the volume of a right rectangular prism whose length = 8 cm, width = 5 cm, and height = 16 cm.

Volume = ( L $\times$ W $\times$ H )

= 8 $\times$ 5 $\times$ 16

= 640 cm3

  1. What is the total surface area of a right rectangular prism with length = 5 feet, width = 4 feet, and height = 6 feet. 

Total surface area = 2 { ( W $\times$ L ) + ( L $\times$ H ) + ( W $\times$ H )}

Total surface area = 2 {( 4 $\times$ 5 ) + (5 $\times$ 6) + ( 4 $\times$ 6 )}

= 2 $\times$ ( 20 + 30 + 24 )

= 148 ft2

  1. The dimensions of a rectangular prism are length = 2.5 cm, width = 4.5 cm, and height = 1.5 cm. Find the volume.

Volume = L $\times$ W $\times$ H

= 2.5 $\times$ 4.5 $\times$ 1.5

=  16.875 cm3

  1. For a rectangular prism, length = 4 feet, width = 4 feet and height = 9 feet. Find the lateral surface area.

Lateral surface area = 2 { (L $\times$ H) + (W $\times$ H)}

Lateral surface area = 2 { (4 $\times$ 9) + (4 $\times$ 9)}

= 2 ( 36 + 36 ) = 144 ft2

Practice Problems

Rectangular Prism

Attend this Quiz & Test your knowledge.

1What is the volume of a rectangular prism whose dimensions are length = 2 cm, width = 2 cm, and height = 4 cm?

16 cm$^{3}$
12 cm$^{3}$
44 cm$^{3}$
10 cm$^{3}$
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 16 cm$^{3}$
Explanation: Volume = 2 2 4 = 16 cm$^{3}$

2The volume of a rectangular prism is 50 cm$^{3}$. Also, length = 2 cm and width = 5 cm. What is its height?

45 cm
3 cm
5 cm
9 cm
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 5 cm
Explanation: h = $frac{V}{(l \times w)} = \frac{50}{(2 \times 5)} = 5 cm

3The dimensions of a rectangular prism are length = 4 cm, width = 6 cm and height = 10 cm. What is the total surface area?

248 cm$^{2}$
124 cm$^{2}$
100 cm$^{2}$
50 cm$^{2}$
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 248 cm$^{2}$
Explanation: Total Surface Area =2 ${(4 \times 6) + (6 \times 10) + (10 \times 4)} = 248 cm$^{2}$

4The dimensions of a rectangular prism are length = 5 cm, width = 6 cm and height = 7 cm. What is the lateral surface area?

248 cm$^{2}$
154 cm$^{2}$
100 cm$^{2}$
50 cm$^{2}$
CorrectIncorrect
Correct answer is: 154 cm$^{2}$
Explanation: Lateral Surface Area = 2 { (5 \times 7) + (6 \times 7) } = 154 cm$^{2}$

Frequently Asked Questions

A rectangular prism has two congruent and parallel rectangular bases.

The net of the rectangular prism is used to find the total surface area.

Yes. Some prisms are named according to special properties. A right rectangular prism with a square base is called a right square prism.

The bases of the right rectangular prism are perpendicular to each other. Whereas the bases of the oblique rectangular prism are not perpendicular.


Rectangular Prism – Definition with Examples

Shapes

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Rectangular Prism – Definition with Examples

Angles

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Rectangular Prism – Definition with Examples

Parallel and Perpendicular Lines

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