Section Designer

  • Specialized sections
  • Allows users to create any arbitrary shape and any user defined material
  • Automatically calculates all section properties
  • Generates biaxial interaction diagram for concrete sections
  • Moment curvature diagrams

Interactive Database Editing

  • All SAP2000 data can be viewed and edited using spreadsheets
  • Edit within SAP2000
  • Bi-directional direct link to MS Excel for editing
  • Allows users to define a portion of the model, or even the entire model using spreadsheets‏

Frame Elements

  • The Frame Element in SAP2000 can be either a straight or curved element.


  • Intermediate joints will automatically be generated where other members intersect with frame to ensure finite element connectivity.

Tendon Elements

  • Tendons are easily drawn as independent objects, with geometry specified as straight lines, parabolas, circular curves, or other arbitrary shapes.
  • SAP2000 automatically connects the tendons to the frame, shell, or solid objects that contain them.
  • External tendons can also be modeled.
  • Tendon loads, including all losses, are easily specified. For simple analyses, tendons can be simply used to create loads that act on the structure.
  • Tendons can instead be modeled as elements that interact with the rest of the structure. Using this approach, staged-construction analysis can consider the sequence with which tendons are added, tensioned, and affected by time-dependent creep and shrinkage.

Cable Elements

  • Geometry definition options
    • Minimum tension at I and/or J end
    • Tension at I and/or J end
    • Horizontal tension component
    • Maximum vertical sag
    • Low-point vertical sag
    • Undeformed length
    • Relative undeformed length
    • Deformed cable geometry
  • Define as:
    • Single Cable
    • Multiple cable segments
  • Catenary cable behavior
  • Large-displacement cable element can model tension-stiffening and the effects of large rotations. The cable shape automatically adapts to the applied loading, and will buckle out of the way under applied compression.
  • Applications include suspension and cable-stayed bridges, guyed towers, pipeline risers, and more. When used in conjunction with staged construction, realistic stresses and stiffnesses of the structure can be found.


Shell Elements

  • Shell elements (plate, membrane, full-shell) used to model walls, floors, tank/vessel shells and other thin-walled areas, as well as two-dimensional solids (plane-stress, plane-strain, and axisymetric solids)
  • Layered shell element considers mixed material composite behavior, nonlinear material behavior options for each layer based on stress-strain, with shearing behavior considered for rebar layered shell sections.
  • Incompatible modes automatically included in the area element stiffness formulation to improve in-plane bending behavior
  • Thick shell/plate plate option when shear deformations become significant. The thick plate formulation captures both shear and bending deformations, whereas the thin plate formulation is based only on bending deformations and neglects shear deformations.

Solid Elements

  • Eight-node solid element based on isoparametric formulation with incompatible modes.
  • Solid elements can support degenerate solids where nodes are collapsed (duplicated) to make wedges and tetrahedra.
  • Useful for modeling three-dimensional objects in which loading, boundary conditions, section properties or reactions vary by thickness.
  • Area elements can be extruded into solids

Meshing Tools

  • Automatic mesh generation
    • Many different meshing control options
    • Will always create quadrilateral sub elements 
  • User has full control of how mesh gets generated
  • Reshaper tool can be used to reshape and control mesh geometry
  • Mesh by gridlines, mesh by selected lines, by intersecting objects or by selected joints.
  • Area surface loads can be distributed as one-way or two-way.
  • Object based model automatically converts into an element based model for internal analysis. Frames, areas, and/or solids can have refined meshes for analysis, but then the model is reformulated to report results as if these elements were singular unmeshed objects.
  • Meshed area and solid finite elements can automatically add joints to adjacent frame elements for internal analysis.

Automatic Edge Constraint

  • Automatic Edge Constraint technology for mismatched meshes


  • Analytically connects all mismatched meshes using joint interpolation algorithms

Link Elements

  • SAP2000 has a many different link elements available for users to accurately represent the behavior of a structure.
    • Linear
    • Multi-linear Elastic
    • Multi-linear Plastic
    • Gaps
    • Hooks
    • Dampers
    • Friction Isolators
    • Rubber Isolators
    • T/C Isolators
    • Frequency-dependent Springs
    • Frequency-dependent Dampers

Hinge Properties

  • Users can create and apply hinge properties to perform pushover analyses in SAP2000.
  • Nonlinear Fiber Hinges
    • Nonlinear material behavior in frame elements (beam/column/brace) can be modeled using fiber hinges. This approach represents the material in the cross section as discrete points, each following the exact stress-strain curves of the material. Mixed materials, like reinforced concrete, and complex shapes can be represented.
    • Yielding, cracking, and hysteresis are all captured.
    • Using multiple hinges along the length of an element represents the full 3-D nonlinearity in a member, although for most practical cases this is not needed.
  • Fiber hinges are utilized in nonlinear static and dynamic analysis.