Cantilever hook features are commonly molded into plastic parts as a inexpensive method of assembling several parts without separate fasteners. Insertion force, insertion dynamic strain, and retention force represent the critical performance data needed to design a cantilever hook for given loading conditions. This paper explores the performance of this feature under both insertion and retention using numerical and experimental methods.

A finite element model using contact and friction surface elements was used to simulate the actual insertion and retention processes of hooks. The design space for a hook was explored by using a design of experiments approach. Sensitivity information was obtained by tabulating main effects and interactions. For the goal of minimizing insertion force and maximizing retention strength, a balanced design was found which was sensitive to differing factors. Based on this data, generalized design rules for designing hooks were formulated.

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