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How do you find the surface area of a pyramid?

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Quick Answer

The surface area of a right square pyramid is determined by adding the square of the length of the base to four times the quotient of the base length times the height divided by two. The formula is written as SA=b^2 + 4(bh/2) where SA is the surface area, b is the base length of the square and h is the height of the pyramid to the apex.

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Full Answer

Pyramids that have bases of different polygons have different formulas for finding the surface area. A regular hexagonal pyramid's surface area covers a hexagon for a base and six triangles of equal size. The total surface area is the area of the base plus six times the area of each triangle. This formula is SA=(1/2)a x P+(1/2)Pl where a is the length from the side of the hexagon to the center, P is the number of sides (6) and l is the product of the base times the triangle height.

Other types of pyramids include irregular pyramids that have bases with different lengths and oblique pyramids whose apex is not centered. The surface area of irregular pyramids is found by adding the base area to the areas of each individual triangle. Real-world examples of pyramids include the Great Pyramids in Egypt, which are square pyramids.

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