The role of particle shape in self-assembly processes is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, particle shape and particle elongation are often considered the most fundamental determinants of soft matter structure formation. On the other hand, structure formation is often highly sensitive to details of shape. Here, we address the question of particle shape sensitivity for the self-assembly of hard pear-shaped particles by studying two models for this system: (a) the pear hard Gaussian overlap (PHGO) and (b) the hard pears of revolution (HPR) model. Hard pear-shaped particles, given by the PHGO model, are known to form a bicontinuous gyroid phase spontaneously. However, this model does not replicate an additive object perfectly and, hence, varies slightly in shape from a “true” pear-shape. Therefore, we investigate in the first part of this series the stability of the gyroid phase in pear-shaped particle systems. We show, based on the HPR phase diagram, that the gyroid phase does not form in pears with such a “true” hard pear-shaped potential. Moreover, we acquire first indications from the HPR and PHGO pair-correlation functions that the formation of the gyroid is probably attributed to the small non-additive properties of the PHGO potential.

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