Applicability of liquid air as novel cryogenic refrigerant for subsea tunnelling construction

Youngjin Son, Tae Young Ko, Dongseop Lee, Jongmuk Won, In Mo Lee, Hangseok Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The artificial ground freezing technique has been widely adopted in tunnel construction in order to impede heavy water flow and to reinforce weak sections during excavation. While liquid nitrogen is one of common cryogenic refrigerants particularly for rapid freezing, it has a serious potential risk of suffocation due to an abrupt increase in nitrogen content in the atmosphere after being vaporized. This paper introduces a novel cryogenic refrigerant, liquid air, and addresses the applicability of it by performing a series of laboratory chamber experiments. The key parameters for the application of artificial freezing using liquid air in subsea tunnel construction are freezing time and energy consumption, which were evaluated and discussed in this paper. The comparative study of these parameters between the use of liquid air and liquid nitrogen demonstrates that liquid air with no risk of suffocation can be a potential substitute for liquid nitrogen delivering the equivalent performance. In addition, the theoretical model was adopted to evaluate the chamber experiments in an effort to estimate the freezing time and the energy consumption ratio (energy consumption for maintaining the frozen state to the energy consumption for freezing soil specimens).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalGeomechanics and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 25

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported partially by a grant (Project number: 13SCIP-B066321-01 (Development of Key Subsea Tunnelling Technology)) from Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement funded by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Korean government and by a grant (2019R1A2C2086647) from National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Techno-Press, Ltd.


  • Artificial ground freezing
  • Energy consumption ratio
  • Freezing time
  • Heat transfer
  • Liquid air
  • Refrigerant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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