This paper presents a systematic finite element model to predict the fixture unit stiffness by introducing nonlinear contact elements on the contact surface between fixture components. The contact element includes three independent springs: two in tangential directions and one in the normal direction of the contact surface. Strong nonlinearity is caused by possible separation and sliding between two fixture components. The problem is formulated by the penalty function method and is solved by the Newton-Raphson procedure. The model was validated by two cases of analysis of a linear cantilever beam and a simple fixture unit with two components. Results are in agreement with the corresponding analytical solution of beams and the previous experiment results for fixture in the literature.

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