Flying Kites into the Snub Dodecahedron, a Dozen at a Time, Using Tetrahedral Stellation

I’ve been shown, by the program’s creator, a function of Stella 4d which was previously unknown to me, and I’ve been having fun playing around with it. It works like this: you start with a polyhedron with, say, icosidodecahedral symmetry, set the program to view it as a figure with only tetrahedral symmetry (that’s the part which is new to me), and then stellate the polyhedron repeatedly. (Note: you can try a free trial download of this program here.) Several recent posts here have featured polyhedra created using this method. For this one, I started with the snub dodecahedron, one of two Archimedean solids which is chiral.

Snub Dodeca

Using typical stellation (as opposed to this new variety), stellating the snub dodecahedron once turns all of the yellow triangles in the figure above into kites, covering each of the red triangles in the process. With “tetrahedral stellation,” though, this can be done in stages, producing a greater variety of snub-dodecahedron variants which feature kites. As it turns out, the kites appear twelve at a time, in four sets of three, with positions corresponding to the vertices (or the faces) of a tetrahedron. Here’s the first one, featuring one dozen kites.

Snub Dodeca variant with kites

Having done this once (and also changing the colors, just for fun), I did it again, resulting in a snub-dodecahedron-variant featuring two dozen kites. At this level, the positions of the kite-triads correspond to those of the vertices of a cube.

Snub Dodeca variant with kites 1

You probably know what’s coming next: adding another dozen kites, for a total of 36, in twelve sets of three kites each. At this point, it is the remaining, non-stellated four-triangle panels, not the kite triads, which have positions corresponding to those of the vertices of a cube (or the faces of an octahedron, if you prefer).

Snub Dodeca variant with kites 2

Incoming next: another dozen kites, for a total of 48 kites, or 16 kite-triads. The four remaining non-stellated panels of four triangles each are now arranged tetrahedrally, just as the kite-triads were, when the first dozen kites were added.

Snub Dodeca variant with kites 3

With one more iteration of this process, no triangles remain, for all have been replaced by kites — sixty (five dozen) in all. This is also the first “normal” stellation of the snub dodecahedron, as mentioned near the beginning of this post.

Snub Dodeca variant with kites 4

From beginning to end, these polyhedra never lost their chirality, nor had it reversed.

About RobertLovesPi

I go by RobertLovesPi on-line, and am interested in many things, a large portion of which are geometrical. Welcome to my little slice of the Internet. The viewpoints and opinions expressed on this website are my own. They should not be confused with the views of my employer, nor any other organization, nor institution, of any kind.
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