I don't know about the penetration of bonded contact using other formulations, I only use MPC.
Yes you can use a simple spring between two faces, but how are you going to create 121 springs if you have a 10x10 element mesh on each face? Also, how are you going to modify the spring rate of the 21 springs on the edge compared with the 100 spring that are not on the edge? Furthermore, if the 10 elements along the edge are not uniformly spaced, how are you going to modify the spring rate of each individual spring? Bonded Contact does all that work for you automatically.
If you were thinking of using a single spring, you would need a 6 DOF spring elements, but how are you going to assign the rotational stiffness values? Again, Bonded Contact does it all for you.
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