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  1. 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 visualized 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 amore »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
  2. To reproduce a Digital Twin (DT) of a data center (DC), input data is required which is collected through site surveys. Data collection is an important step since accurate representation of a DC depends on capturing the necessary detail for various model fidelity levels of each DC component. However, guidance is lacking in this regard as to which components within the DC are crucial to achieve the level of accuracy desired for the computational model. And determining the input values of the component object parameters is an exercise in engineering judgement during site survey. Sensitivity analysis can be an effective methodology to determine how the level of simplification in component models can affect the model accuracy.In this study, a calibrated raised-floor DC model is used to study the sensitivity of a DC component's representation to the DC model accuracy. Commercial CFD tool, 6SigmaDC Room is used for modeling and simulation. A total of 8 DC components are considered and eventually ranked on the basis of time and effort required to collect model input data. For parametrized component object, the object's full range of input parameter values are considered, and simulations run. The results are compared with the baseline calibrated modelmore »to understand the trade-off between survey effort/cost and model accuracy. For the calibrated DC model and of the 8 components considered, it was observed that the chilled water piping branches, data cables and the cable penetration seal (found within cabinets) have considerable influence on the tile flow rate prediction accuracy.« less
  3. Most of the thermal management technologies concentrate on managing airflow to achieve the desired server inlet temperature (supply air operating set point) and not to manage/improve the amount of cool air (CFM) that each computer rack (i.e. IT servers) should receive in order to remove the produced heat. However, airflow is equally important for quantifying adequate cooling to IT equipment, but it is more challenging to obtain a uniform airflow distribution at the inlet of computer racks. Therefore, as a potential option for improving airflow distribution is to eliminate the sources of non-uniformities such as maldistribution of under-floor plenum pressure field caused by vortices. Numerous researchers focus on the adverse effects of under-floor blockages. This study focused to numerically investigate the positive impact of selectively placed obstructions (on-purpose air-directors); referred as partitions; Quantitative and qualitative analysis of underfloor plenum pressure field, perforated tiles airflow rate and racks inlet temperature with and without partitions using two Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models, which were built using Future Facilities 6SigmaRoom CFD tool. First, a simple data center model was used to quantify the partitions benefits for two different systems; Hot Aisle Containment (HAC) compared to an open configuration. Second, the investigation was expandedmore »using a physics-based experimentally validated CFD model of medium size data center (more complicated data center geometry) to compare different types of proposed partitions. Both models results showed that partition type I (partitions height of $\frac{2}{3}$ of plenum depth measured from the subfloor) eliminates the presence of vortices in the under-floor plenum and hence, more uniform pressure differential across the perforated tiles that drives more uniform airflow rates. In addition, the influence of proposed partitions on the rack inlet temperature was reported through a comparison between open versus hot aisle containment. The results showed that the partitions have a minor effect on the rack inlet temperature for the hot aisle containment system. However, the partitions significantly improve the tiles flowrate. On the other hand, for the open system, the presence of partitions has improved the tiles airflow rate, rack inlet temperature and hence eliminate the hot spots formation at computer rack inlet« less
  4. There are various designs for segregating hot and cold air in data centers such as cold aisle containment (CAC), hot aisle containment (HAC), and chimney exhaust rack. These containment systems have different characteristics and impose various conditions on the information technology equipment (ITE). One common issue in HAC systems is the pressure buildup inside the HAC (known as backpressure). Backpressure also can be present in CAC systems in case of airflow imbalances. Hot air recirculation, limited cooling airflow rate in servers, and reversed flow through ITE with weaker fan systems (e.g. network switches) are some known consequences of backpressure. Currently there is a lack of experimental data on the interdependency between overall performance of ITE and its internal design when a backpressure is imposed on ITE. In this paper, three commercial 2-rack unit (RU) servers with different internal designs from various generations and performance levels are tested and analyzed under various environmental conditions. Smoke tests and thermal imaging are implemented to study the airflow patterns inside the tested equipment. In addition, the impact leak of hot air into ITE on the fan speed and the power consumption of ITE is studied. Furthermore, the cause of the discrepancy between measured inletmore »temperatures by internal intelligent platform management interface (IPMI) and external sensors is investigated. It is found that arrangement of fans, segregation of space upstream and downstream of fans, leakage paths, location of sensors of baseboard management controller (BMC) and presence of backpressure can have a significant impact on ITE power and cooling efficiency.« less
  5. In raised floor data centers, tiles with high open area ratio or complex understructure are used to fulfill the demand of today’s high-density computing. Using more open tiles reduces pressure drop across the raised floor with the potential advantages of increased airflow and lower noise. However, it introduces the disadvantage of increased non-uniformity of airflow distribution. In addition, there are various tile designs available on the market with different opening shapes or understructures. Furthermore, a physical separation of cold and hot aisles (containment) has been introduced to minimize the mixing of cold and hot air. In this study, three types of floor tiles with different open area, opening geometry, and understructure are considered. Experimentally validated detail models of tiles were implemented in CFD simulations to address the impact of tile design on the cooling of IT equipment in both open and enclosed aisle configurations. Also, impacts of under-cabinet leakage on the IT equipment inlet temperature in the provisioned and under-provisioned scenarios are studied. Finally, a predictive equation for the critical under-provisioning point that can lead to a no-flow condition in IT equipment with weaker airflow systems is presented.
  6. During the lifespan of a data center, power outages and blower cooling failures are common occurrences. Given that data centers have a vital role in modern life, it is especially important to understand these failures and their effects. A previous study [16] showed that cold aisle containment might have a negative impact on IT equipment uptime during a blower failure. This new study further analyzed the impact of containment on IT equipment uptime during a CRAH blower failure. It also compared the IT equipment performance both with and without a pressure relief mechanism implemented in the containment system. The results show that the effect of implementing pressure relief in containment solution on the IT equipment performance and response could vary and depend on the server's airflow, generation and hence types of servers deployed in cold aisle enclosure. The results also showed that when compared to the discrete sensors, the IPMI inlet temperature sensors underestimate the Ride Through Time (RTT) by 32%. This means that the RTT calculations based on the IPMI inlet sensors may be inaccurate due to variations in the sensor readings; as they exist today; in these servers. as discussed in a previous study [26]. Additionally, it wasmore »shown that all Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers have a similar IPMI inlet temperature reading, regardless of mounting location. As external system resistance increases during cooling failure, the servers exhibit internal recirculation through their weaker power supply fans, which is reflected in the high IPMI inlet temperature readings. For this server specifically, a pressure relief mechanism reduces the external resistance, thereby eliminating internal recirculation and resulting in lower IPMI inlet temperature readings. This in turn translates to a lower RTT. However, pressure relief showed conflicting results where the discrete sensors showed an increase in inlet temperature when pressure relief was introduced, thereby reducing the RTT. The CPU temperatures conformed with the discrete sensor data, indicating that containment helped increase the RTT of the servers during failure.« less