This is a followup to this question, but I'll try to include all the currently relevant information here.
Background summary: I'm investigating polyhedra in R3 which are in some sense "area-minimizing", in analogy with smooth surfaces of constant mean curvature. In particular, given a particular combinatorial "type" of polyhedron homeomorphic to a sphere, I would like to find the realization(s) of that polyhedron which minimize its surface area for a given volume, if any exist. Given a parametrization of the realization space (space of embeddings) M, it would be useful to define an analogue of mean curvature as the gradient of area.
So, what does M look like? If a combinatorial type is "trihedral", i.e. three faces meet at every vertex, then M has three dimensions for each face. Likewise, for a triangulated polyhedron M has three dimensions for each vertex. However, overall six of these dimensions correspond to translation and rotation without changing the actual shape. The "actual" dimension of M, once we quotient out translations and rotations, turns out to be the number of edges. This is true whether the polyhedron is trihedral, triangulated or neither. Furthermore, the "boundaries" between combinatorial types are defined naturally in terms of edges contracting to points.
So I'm interested in parametrizing the realization space of a polyhedron by its edges, and then defining an analogue of mean curvature in terms of this parametrization. A convex triangulated polyhedron is already completely defined by its edge lengths; but I want something that works more generally.
Now for the actual question.
It seems I may have happened upon (part of) the formula for mean curvature before finding a useful parametrization. It's been known for a long time that, for any given combinatorial type, a minimizer must have all faces tangent to a sphere. This means that the surface can be partitioned naturally into pairs of congruent triangles, whose common base is an edge of the polyhedron and whose apices are the points of tangency to the sphere. The area of such a pair of triangles is h = L*tan(θ/2), where L is the length of the edge and θ is the (external) dihedral angle. For all the minimizers I've checked, this value is constant across all edges, which makes it a good candidate for my "discrete mean curvature", at least when restricting to the subspace S of M which has all faces tangent to a sphere.
Given a parametrization of M, define the mean curvature flow as simply following the gradient. Then intuitively, under the flow I would expect polyhedra which start out tangent to a sphere to stay tangent to a sphere (albeit one which "grows with the flow"). That is, it feels like S should be closed under the flow. Furthermore, under the reverse flow all realizations should approach a minimizer.
With these assumptions, how might it be possible to construct a parametrization of M in terms of edges, having h as the gradient of area (at least on S)?