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Boron-nitrogen chemistry has attracted significant attention, partly because a B–N unit is isoelectronic with C–C. Furthermore, the radius of carbon and its electronegativity are roughly the average of those properties for B and N.

I was going through the structures of BN and Graphite, and here's what I found: In graphite the C atoms in the C6 rings of one layer lie over the middle of a C6 ring in the layer below. In BN, a boron atom in one layer is directly over an N atom in the layer below.

My question: How do we compare the interlayer distance in boron nitride and graphite?

Attached are the structures for reference:

enter image description here

enter image description here

I looked up some data, and found out that the interlayer distance in graphite is greater than that in boron nitride. I'm not sure why it is so.


Data for interlayer distance:

  • Graphite: $\pu{335.4 pm}$
  • Boron nitride: $\pu{333 pm}$
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  • $\begingroup$ That's like exactly the same value... I wonder what uncertainties are for these data. Probably they are bigger then this tiny difference. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Mar 5 '18 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ There's relevant information in this paper: pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ct200880m . It asks why the interlayer distance in hexagonal-BN and graphite are so similar, and goes through the different interactions before concluding that the van der Waals interaction is the only one that's important in these cases. For what it's worth, it cites the interlayer distances as 3.33-3.35 Å for graphite and 3.30-3.33 Å for $h$-BN. $\endgroup$ – user1704042 Mar 4 at 10:43

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