SAP2000 stores section-property information in database tables which may be accessed through Edit > Interactive Database Editing > Property Definitions > Frame Section Properties. The Expose All Input Tables option may need to be selected to display all relevant tables.
Table: Frame Section Properties 01 - General is the main table which stores, for various section types, dimensions and such resultant section properties as area, moment of inertia, section moduli, etc. Additional tables store supplementary information relevant to specific section types, such as the width and thickness of cover plates which combine with I-sections.
Based on how resultant frame-section properties are calculated and stored in database tables, frame-section properties can be divided into three groups which are described as follows:
For general sections, resultant section properties are directly entered.
For the parametric sections available (I-sections, rectangular sections, etc.), section dimensions (plate thickness, width, radii, etc.) are specified, then resultant section properties are automatically calculated. Once changes made in the database table are applied to the model, revised properties are automatically implemented.
Parametric sections from database files
Certain section properties, such as those published in the AISC Steel Design Manual, are not easily calculated because of round fillets and such other specific shapes and details. These properties may be imported using the Define > Section Properties > Frame Sections > Import New Property menu, which reads directly from a .PRO file located in the software installation directory. Once database tables are saved, changes to sections and properties will overwrite as default values.
Imported sections are tracked through the SectInFile and FileName records of the Table: Frame Section Properties 01 - General database table. A tool which enables the creation of .PRO files is available upon request.