Contact problems are among the most difficult ones in mechanics. Due to its practical importance, the problem has been receiving extensive research work over the years. The finite element method has been widely used to solve contact problems with various grades of complexity. Great progress has been made on both theoretical studies and engineering applications. This paper reviews some of the main developments in contact theories and finite element solution techniques for static contact problems. Classical and variational formulations of the problem are first given and then finite element solution techniques are reviewed. Available constraint methods, friction laws and contact searching algorithms are also briefly described. At the end of the paper, a bibliography is included, listing about seven hundred papers which are related to static contact problems and have been published in various journals and conference proceedings from 1976.
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