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  1. Abstract The practice of commissioning data centers (DCs) is necessary to confirm the compliance of the cooling system to the information technology equipment (ITE) load (design capacity). In a typical DC, there are different types of ITE, each having its physical characteristics. Considering these geometrical and internal differences among ITE, it is infeasible to use the actual ITE as a self-simulator. Hence, a separate device called load bank is employed for that purpose. Load banks create a dummy thermal load to analyze, test, and stress the cooling infrastructure. Available commercial load banks do not accurately replicate a server's airflow patternsmore »and transient heat signatures which are governed by thermal inertia, energy dissipation, flow resistance, and fan system behavior. In this study, a novel prototype of the server called server simulator was designed and built with different components to be used as a server mockup. The server simulator accurately captured air resistance, heat dissipation, and the functionality of actual server behavior. Experimental data showed up to 93% improvement in ITE passive and active flow curves using the designed server simulator compared to the commercial load bank. Furthermore, the experimental results demonstrated a below 5% discrepancy on the critical back pressure and free delivery point between the actual ITE and the designed server simulator. In addition, experimental data indicated that the developed server simulator improved the actual ITE thermal mass by 27% compared to the commercial load bank.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Abstract An increasingly common power saving practice in data center thermal management is to swap out air cooling unit blower fans with electronically commutated plug fans, Although, both are centrifugal blowers. The blade design changes: forward versus backward curved with peak static efficiencies of 60% and 75%, respectively, which results in operation power savings. The side effects of which are not fully understood. Therefore, it has become necessary to develop an overall understanding of backward curved blowers and compare the resulting flow, pressure, and temperature fields with forwarding curved ones in which the induced fields are characterized, compared, and visualizedmore »in a reference data center which may aid data center planning and operation when making the decisions of which computer room air handler (CRAH) technology to be used. In this study, experimental and numerical characterization of backward curved blowers is introduced. Then, a physics-based computational fluid dynamics model is built using the 6sigmaroom tool to predict/simulate the measured fields. Five different scenarios were applied at the room level for the experimental characterization of the cooling units and another two scenarios were applied for comparison and illustration of the interaction between different CRAH technologies. Four scenarios were used to characterize a CRAH with backward curved blowers, during which a CRAH with forwarding curved was powered off. An alternate arrangement was examined to quantify the effect of possible flow constraints on the backward curved blower's performance. Then parametric and sensitivity of the baseline modeling are investigated and considered. Different operating conditions are applied at the room level for experimental characterization, comparison, and illustration of the interaction between different CRAH technologies. The measured data is plotted and compared with the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model assessment to visualize the fields of interest. The results show that the fields are highly dependent on CRAH technology. The tile to CRAH airflow ratios for the flow constraints of scenarios 1, 2, 3, and 4 are 85.5%, 83.9%, 61%, and 59%, respectively. The corresponding leakage ratios are 14.5%, 16%, 38.9%, and 41%, respectively. Furthermore, the validated CFD model was used to investigate and compare the airflow pattern and plenum pressure distribution. Lastly, it is notable that a potential side effect of backward curved technology is the creation of an airflow dead zone.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  3. Abstract The increased power consumption and continued miniaturization of high-powered electronic components have presented many challenges to their thermal management. To improve the efficiency and reliability of these devices, the high amount of heat that they generate must be properly removed. In this paper, a three-dimensional numerical model has been developed and experimentally validated for several manifold heat sink designs. The goal was to enhance the heat sink's thermal performance while reducing the required pumping power by lowering the pressure drop across the heat sink. The considered designs were benchmarked to a commercially available heat sink in terms of theirmore »thermal and hydraulic performances. The proposed manifolds were designed to distribute fluid through alternating inlet and outlet branched internal channels. It was found that using the manifold design with 3 channels reduced the thermal resistance from 0.061 to 0.054 °C/W with a pressure drop reduction of 0.77 kPa from the commercial cold plate. A geometric parametric study was performed to investigate the effect of the manifold's internal channel width on the thermohydraulic performance of the proposed designs. It was found that the thermal resistance decreased as the manifold's channel width decreased, up until a certain width value, below which the thermal resistance started to increase while maintaining low-pressure drop values. Where the thermal resistance significantly decreased in the 7 channels design by 16.4% and maintained a lower pressure drop value below 0.6 kPa.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  5. Abstract This work presents an approach to optimally designing a composite with thermal conductivity enhancers infiltrated with phase change material based on figure of merit (FOM) for thermal management of portable electronic devices. The FOM defines the balance between effective thermal conductivity and energy storage capacity. In this study, thermal conductivity enhancers are in the form of a honeycomb structure. Thermal conductivity enhancers are often used in conjunction with phase change material to enhance the conductivity of the composite medium. Under constrained heat sink volume, the higher volume fraction of thermal conductivity enhancers improves the effective thermal conductivity of themore »composite, while it reduces the amount of latent heat storage simultaneously. This work arrives at the optimal design of composite for electronic cooling by maximizing the FOM to resolve the stated tradeoff. In this study, the total volume of the composite and the interfacial heat transfer area between the phase change material and thermal conductivity enhancers are constrained for all design points. A benchmarked two-dimensional direct computational fluid dynamics model was employed to investigate the thermal performance of the phase change material and thermal conductivity enhancer composite. Furthermore, assuming conduction-dominated heat transfer in the composite, a simplified effective numerical model that solves the single energy equation with the effective properties of the phase change material and thermal conductivity enhancer has been developed. The effective properties like heat capacity can be obtained by volume averaging; however, effective thermal conductivity (required to calculate FOM) is unknown. The effective thermal conductivity of the composite is obtained by minimizing the error between the transient temperature gradient of direct and simplified model by iteratively varying the effective thermal conductivity. The FOM is maximized to find the optimal volume fraction for the present design.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  6. Miniaturization and high heat flux of power electronic devices have posed a colossal challenge for adequate thermal management. Conventional air-cooling solutions are inadequate for high-performance electronics. Liquid cooling is an alternative solution thanks to the higher specific heat and latent heat associated with the coolants. Liquid-cooled cold plates are typically manufactured by different approaches such as: skived, forged, extrusion, electrical discharge machining. When researchers are facing challenges at creating complex geometries in small spaces, 3D-printing can be a solution. In this paper, a 3D-printed cold plate was designed and characterized with water coolant. The printed metal fin structures were strongmore »enough to undergo pressure from the fluid flow even at high flow rates and small fin structures. A copper block with top surface area of 1 inch by 1 inch was used to mimic a computer chip. Experimental data has good match with a simulation model which was built using commercial software 6SigmaET. Effects of geometry parameters and operating parameters were investigated. Fin diameter was varied from 0.3 mm to 0.5 mm and fin height was maintained at 2 mm. A special manifold was designed to maximize the surface contact area between coolant and metal surface and therefore minimize thermal resistance. The flow rate was varied from 0.75 L/min to 2 L/min and coolant inlet temperature was varied from 25 to 48 oC. It was observed that for the coolant inlet temperature 25 oC and aluminum cold plate, the junction temperature was kept below 63.2 oC at input power 350 W and pressure drop did not exceed 23 Kpa. Effects of metal materials used in 3D-printing on the thermal performance of the cold plate were also studied in detail.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 23, 2023
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