This study evaluates the damage potential of concrete of different mix designs subjected to cryogenic temperatures,
using acoustic emission (AE) and permeability testing. The aim is to investigate design methodologies that might be
employed to produce concrete that resists damage when cooled to cryogenic temperatures. Such concrete would be
suitable for primary containment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and could replace currently used 9% Ni steel, thereby
leading to huge cost savings. In the experiments described, concrete cubes, 150 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm, were cast
using four different mix designs. The four mixes employed siliceous river sand as fine aggregate. Moreover, limestone,
sandstone, trap rock and lightweight aggregate were individually used as coarse aggregates in the mixes. The concrete
samples were then cooled from room temperature (20°C) to cryogenic temperature (-165°C) in a temperature chamber.
AE sensors were placed on the concrete cubes during the cryogenic freezing process. The damage potential was
evaluated in terms of the growth of damage as determined from AE, as a function of temperature and concrete mixture
design. The damage potential observed was validated with water permeability testing. Initial results demonstrate the
effects of the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of the aggregates on damage growth. Concrete damage (cracking)
resistance generally decreased with increasing coarse aggregate CTE, and was in the order, limestone ≥ trap rock <<
lightweight aggregate ≥ sandstone. Work is in progress to fully understand thermal dilation and damage growth in
concrete due to differential CTE of its components.