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Bending modes, elastic constants and mechanical stability of graphitic systems

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The thermodynamic and mechanical properties of graphitic systems are strongly dependent on the shear elastic constant C44 . Our density functional calculations provide the first complete determination of their elastic constants and exfoliation energies. We show that stacking misorientation leads to a severe lowering of C44 from 4.5GPa (perfect stacking) to 0.24±0.06 GPa (random stacking). The lower exfoliation energy and the lower C44 (more bending modes) suggest that flakes with random stacking should be easier to exfoliate than the ones with perfect or rhombohedral stacking in agreement with a recent experiment [Y. Hernandez et al., Nature Nanotech. 3, 563(2008)].

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