Become a math whiz with AI Tutoring, Practice Questions & more.

Join for Free
HotmathMath Homework. Do It Faster, Learn It Better.

Surface Area of a Sphere

The surface area of a sphere is defined as the region covered by its outer surface in three-dimensional space. A sphere is a three-dimensional solid having a round shape, just like a circle. The difference between a sphere and a circle is that a circle is a two-dimensional figure or a flat shape, whereas a sphere is a three-dimensional shape. A circle is also the two-dimensional cross-section of a sphere.

From a visual perspective, a sphere has a three-dimensional structure formed by rotating a circular disc with one of the diagonals that cross its center.

Consider a situation where a spherical ball is painted. To paint the whole surface without wasting paint, the paint quantity required has to be known beforehand. Therefore, the area of the surface has to be known to calculate the paint quantity for painting it. We define this term as the total surface area.

The Greek mathematician Archimedes discovered that the surface area of a sphere is the same as the lateral surface of a cylinder having the same radius as the sphere and a height the length of the diameter of the sphere.

The lateral surface area of the cylinder is LSA = 2 π r h where h = 2 r .

2 π r 2 r = 4 π r 2

The surface area of a sphere with radius r equals 4 π r 2 .

For any three-dimensional shape, the area of the object can be categorized into three types. They are:

  • Curved surface area: The curved surface area is the area of all the curved regions of the solid
  • Lateral surface area: The lateral surface area is the area of all the regions except bases (top and bottom, for example)
  • Total surface area: The total surface area is the area of all the sides, top, and bottom of the solid object.

In the case of the sphere, there are no flat sides.

Therefore, the total surface area of a sphere is the curved surface of a sphere.


Find the surface area of a sphere with a radius of 5 inches.

Surface area = 4 π 5 2

SA = 100 π inches 2

Approximately 314.16 inches 2

Topics related to the Surface Area of a Sphere


Volume of a Sphere

Volume of a Cone

Flashcards covering the Surface Area of a Sphere

Basic Geometry Flashcards

Common Core: High School - Geometry Flashcards

Practice tests covering the Surface Area of a Sphere

Common Core: High School - Geometry Diagnostic Tests

Intermediate Geometry Diagnostic Tests

Get help learning about the surface area of a sphere

Learning to calculate the surface area of a sphere can be tricky for a lot of students. Because of its completely curved surface, there are no planes to measure and that can cause confusion. But with the help of a qualified math tutor, your student can learn the formula and process to calculate the total surface area of a sphere. And working with a tutor can improve your student's study skills as well as their specific math skills.

Having the kind of 1-on-1 attention a tutor provides in a distraction-free environment frees your student's mind up to learn the complexities of the formula used to measure the surface area of a sphere and other math concepts. Your student's tutor can discover your child's most effective learning methods and instruct them in a way that they best understand.

Your student's tutor will also work at your student's pace, slowing things down and being precise when a concept is especially challenging as well as moving along more quickly when your student is picking up concepts easily. This makes tutoring as efficient as it is effective.

To learn more about how tutoring can benefit your student, contact the Educational Directors at Varsity Tutors today.

Subjects Near Me
Popular Cities
Popular Subjects
Download our free learning tools apps and test prep books
varsity tutors app storevarsity tutors google play storevarsity tutors amazon storevarsity tutors ibooks store