Ultrasonic wire bonders with precision capillary tips are widely used for bonding electrical wires to IC chips and circuits. The industry is driving wire-bonding technology towards increased yields, decreased pitch, and ever decreasing cost. However, many technical and material issues will be involved in achieving these goals, such as bond quality monitoring, new failure modes, reliability problems in new plastic mold compounds, and increasing wire sweep problems, in particular lack of the quantitative understanding and validated mathematical model of the bonding process. In this paper, a microslip model is proposed for the bonding process based on the bonding pattern observed, i.e. the wire is bonded at the periphery while the centre is left unbonded. A bilinear hysteresis restoring force is assumed in the microslip model because of its simplicity. The transient displacement response is calculated, and its pattern shows very good agreement with the experiment.