Ellipsoid volume calculator

Ellipsoid volume
The calculator allows calculating the volume of an ellipsoid using the values of its semi-axes \(a\), \(b\), and \(c\). The formula for calculating volume is \(V = \frac{4}{3} \pi a b c\), where \(a\), \(b\), and \(c\) are the lengths of the ellipsoid's semi-axes. It finds application in various practical and theoretical tasks, for example, when calculating the volume of bodies in astronomy, hydrodynamics, and other scientific research.
Semi-axis A
Semi-axis B
Semi-axis C

An ellipsoid is a three-dimensional geometric figure that can be seen as a three-dimensional extension of an ellipse. It possesses interesting properties and plays a significant role in various scientific and engineering fields, including astronomy, physics, geodesy, and even medical imaging.

In mathematics, an ellipsoid is defined as a surface formed by points in three-dimensional space, the sum of distances from which to three fixed points (foci) is constant. An ellipsoid has three axes of symmetry, known as semi-axes: the major axis (a), the intermediate axis (b), and the minor axis (c). They intersect at the center of the ellipsoid and are perpendicular to each other.

Geometric Description of an Ellipsoid

An ellipsoid is a closed quadratic surface that represents a generalization of the shape of an ellipse in three-dimensional space. It is defined by three orthogonal (mutually perpendicular) axes: the major, intermediate, and minor semi-axes. There are several types of ellipsoids, depending on the relationships between these axes, the most common of which are prolate (elongated) and oblate (flattened) ellipsoids.

Main Elements

  • Semi-axes: An ellipsoid is characterized by three perpendicular semi-axes: \(a\), \(b\), and \(c\), which represent the distances from the center to its surface in the corresponding direction. The lengths of the semi-axes determine the shape of the ellipsoid:
    • \(a\) — the length of the major (principal) semi-axis,
    • \(b\) — the length of the intermediate semi-axis,
    • \(c\) — the length of the minor semi-axis.
  • Center: The point where the three semi-axes intersect serves as the center of the ellipsoid and is the point of its geometric symmetry.

Types of Ellipsoids

  1. Prolate Ellipsoid (elongated) — one of the semi-axes (usually \(a\)) is longer than the other two, which may or may not be equal (\(a > b = c\)).
  2. Oblate Ellipsoid (flattened) — one of the semi-axes (usually \(c\)) is shorter than the other two, which may or may not be equal (\(a = b > c\)).
  3. Triaxial Ellipsoid — all three semi-axes have different lengths (\(a > b > c\)).

Geometric Properties

  • The ellipsoid has point symmetry with respect to its center.
  • The surface of the ellipsoid is smooth and continuous without edges or vertices.
  • The internal volume of the ellipsoid depends on the lengths of its semi-axes and can be calculated through mathematical formulas.

Ellipsoids are widely used in scientific and engineering calculations where it is necessary to account for the non-ideal spherical shape of objects, for example, in geodesy, astronomy, and physics.

Mathematical Formula for Calculating Volume

The mathematical formula for calculating the volume of an ellipsoid uses the lengths of its three mutually perpendicular semi-axes: \(a\), \(b\), and \(c\). These semi-axes determine the distances from the center of the ellipsoid to its surface along the \(x\), \(y\), and \(z\) axes, respectively.

The formula for calculating the volume of an ellipsoid is as follows:

\[ V = \frac{4}{3}\pi abc \]


  • \(V\) — the volume of the ellipsoid,
  • \(a\) — the length of the major semi-axis,
  • \(b\) — the length of the intermediate semi-axis,
  • \(c\) — the length of the minor semi-axis,
  • \(\pi\) — the mathematical constant, approximately equal to 3.14159.

This formula demonstrates that the volume of an ellipsoid is proportional to the product of the lengths of its three semi-axes, and it also includes a coefficient related to the volume of a sphere, considering that an ellipsoid can be seen as a deformed sphere.

Example of calculating the volume of an ellipsoid: suppose the lengths of the semi-axes of the ellipsoid are 4 m (for \(a\)), 3 m (for \(b\)) and 2 m (for \(c\)). Substituting these values into the formula, we get:

\[ V = \frac{4}{3}\pi \times 4 \times 3 \times 2 = 8\pi \approx 25.13 \text{ m}^3 \]

Thus, the volume of this ellipsoid is approximately 25.13 cubic meters.

Connection with Other Geometric Figures

The ellipsoid is closely related to other key geometric figures, including the sphere, cylinder, and cone, as well as to other types of ellipsoids, such as spheroids. These connections are expressed through geometric and mathematical relationships, allowing for a deeper understanding of the properties of the ellipsoid and its interaction with other figures.

  1. The sphere as a special case of the ellipsoid: When all three semi-axes of the ellipsoid are equal (\(a\)=\(b\)=\(c\)), it becomes a sphere. This shows that a sphere is a specific type of ellipsoid, where all points on the surface are equidistant from the center.

  2. Spheroids: Spheroids are rotation ellipsoids that have two equal semi-axes. A prolate (elongated) spheroid is formed by rotating an ellipse around its minor axis, while an oblate (flattened) spheroid — around its major axis. These shapes are important for describing the shape of Earth and other planets.

  3. Relationship with cylinder and cone: Under certain conditions, an ellipsoid can be inscribed or circumscribed around a cylinder or cone, creating interesting geometric relationships. For example, the maximum ellipsoid that can be inscribed in a given cylinder, or the minimum ellipsoid that can circumscribe a given cone, hold significant value in geometry and optimization.

  4. Ellipsoids in coordinate systems: In Cartesian, cylindrical, and spherical coordinates, ellipsoids can be described by equations reflecting their geometric properties. These equations aid in analyzing complex spatial structures and in visualizing three-dimensional shapes.

Applications in Science and Engineering

Ellipsoids find widespread application in various fields of science and engineering, thanks to their unique geometric properties and ability to model many physical and astronomical phenomena.

  1. Astronomy and Geodesy: In astronomy, ellipsoids are used to model the shapes of planets and stars, especially for describing the flattening of Earth and other planets in the solar system. In geodesy, ellipsoidal models of Earth serve as the basis for precise measurements and cartography.

  2. Engineering and Design: In engineering, ellipsoids are applied in designing aerodynamic shapes, such as in aviation and automotive engineering, where they help minimize air resistance. In design and architecture, ellipsoids are used to create aesthetically appealing and functional forms.

  3. Physics and Mathematics: In physics, ellipsoids appear in the study of gravitational fields, as well as in crystallography and molecular physics to describe the shapes of molecules and crystals. In mathematics, they serve as an object for studying complex spatial structures and transformations.

  4. Medicine: In medical imaging and radiology, ellipsoidal models are used for analyzing and visualizing internal organs, providing more accurate diagnostics and treatment planning.

  5. Computer Modeling and Graphics: In computer modeling and 3D graphics, ellipsoids are used to create realistic three-dimensional objects and scenes, offering powerful tools for visualization and animation.


As a fundamental geometric figure, the ellipsoid plays a crucial role in many fields of science and engineering. Its ability to precisely model complex shapes and structures makes it an indispensable tool in astronomy, engineering, medicine, and other disciplines. Understanding the mathematical foundations and geometric properties of ellipsoids opens new possibilities for research and development, contributing to technological progress and scientific discoveries. Ellipsoids continue to inspire scientists and engineers to create innovative solutions and products, demonstrating the deep interconnection between geometry and the real world.

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