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Recalling the concept of polygons, we can say that they are closed shapes with at least three sides, and straight edges. This includes several shapes that we are already familiar with, like triangles, squares, rectangles, and so on. Polygon shapes can be classified based on different aspects, particularly, we will focus on the classification of polygons in terms of their convexity.
Convexity in polygons refers to the direction in which the vertices of a polygon are pointing, which can be outwards or inwards.
In this article, we will define what a convex polygon is, and its properties, and we will show you some examples of convex polygons that you can find in the real world. We will also explain the differences between convex and concave polygons, and the concepts of regular and irregular convex polygons.
Depending on their convexity, polygons can be classified as convex or concave. First, let's define what we mean by a convex polygon.
A convex polygon can be defined as a polygon that has all its vertices pointing outwards.
Remember that the vertices of a polygon are the endpoints where two sides of the polygon intersect.
Read more about Polygons if you need to refresh the basics.
Let's see some examples to help you recognize convex polygons more easily.
All the polygons below are convex:
We are surrounded by convex polygons in our daily life. For example, a piece of paper (square or rectangle), road signs (triangles, rhombuses or hexagons), and in nature as honeycombs (hexagon), etc.
Based on their definition, we can define the properties of convex polygons as follows:
All its interior angles measure less than 180°.
There are no dents (vertices pointing inwards).
All the diagonals of a convex polygon will remain completely inside the polygon, without touching the outside area.
A line intersecting a convex polygon will intersect it at 2 distinct points only. One at the point of entry and the other at the point of exit.
Based on the length of their sides and the measurement of their angles, convex polygons can be classified as follows:
Equilateral convex polygons are polygons with sides of equal length.
An example of an equilateral convex polygon is a rhombus, as all its sides have the same length.
Equiangular convex polygons are polygons with angles of equal measure.
An example of an equiangular convex polygon is a rectangle.
Regular convex polygons have sides of equal length and angles of equal measure. This type of convex polygons are both equilateral and equiangular.
Regular polygons with five sides or more are denoted with the word 'regular' preceding the name of the polygon.
Some examples of regular convex polygons are shown below.
Regular convex polygons also have diagonals of the same length. The centre of a regular polygon is equidistant from all its vertices. This means that all the vertices of a regular polygon will lie on a circle. This circle is known as the circumcircle of that polygon.
Please read Regular Polygons to learn more about this topic.
Irregular convex polygons have sides of different length and angles of different measure.
An example of an irregular convex polygon is a parallelogram.
If a polygon is not convex, then it is considered to be concave, but what exactly does that mean?
A concave polygon is a polygon that has at least one of its vertices pointing inwards.
Let's see some examples of concave polygons.
All the polygons shown below are concave.
Based of their definition, the properties of concave polygons are as follows:
At least 1 interior angle measures more than 180°.
One or more dents (at least 1 vertex points inwards).
At least 1 diagonal between two vertices of a concave polygon may touch the outside area.
A line intersecting a concave polygon may intersect it at more than 2 points.
There are several tests that can be used to determine if a polygon is convex or concave. These are based on the properties of convex and concave polygons, and are described below.
There are two types of line test that you can do to check if a polygon is convex or concave.
If you draw a line segment between any two points of the interior of a convex polygon, the whole line segment will remain completely inside the figure without touching the outside area. Otherwise, it is concave.
Identify if the polygons below are convex or concave using the line segment test.
If you extend the sides of a convex polygon, the extended side lines will not cross the interior of the polygon. Otherwise, it is concave.
Identify if the polygons below are convex or concave by extending the sides of the polygons.
If you measure the interior angles of a convex polygon, all of them must measure less than 180°. If at least 1 of the interior angles measures more than 180°, then it is a concave polygon.
Identify if the polygons below are convex or concave using the angle test.
To help you remember the differences between convex and concave polygons, let's summarize their properties in the table below.
Convex polygons  Concave polygons 








A convex polygon can be defined as a polygon that has all its vertices pointing outwards.
A convex polygon needs to have 3 sides or more, and it has no upper limit.
Concave polygons have inwardpointing vertices whereas a convex polygon will have all outwardpointing vertices.
Regular convex polygons have sides of equal length and angles of equal measure. This type of convex polygons are both equilateral and equiangular. All the vertices will also lie on a circle.
The properties of convex polygons as follows:
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