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Experimental and Numerical Characterization of a Raised Floor Data Center Using Rapid Operational Flow Curves Model

[+] Author Affiliations
Husam A. Alissa, Kourosh Nemati, Bahgat Sammakia

State University of New York at Binghamton-SUNY, Binghamton, NY

Mark Seymour

Future Facilities Ltd., London, UK

Ken Schneebeli

IBM Corp., San Francisco, CA

Roger Schmidt

IBM Corp., Poughkeepsie, NY

Paper No. IPACK2015-48234, pp. V001T09A016; 12 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems collocated with the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Volume 1: Thermal Management
  • San Francisco, California, USA, July 6–9, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Electronic and Photonic Packaging Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5688-8
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


As the number of data centers is exponentially growing globally, pragmatic characterization schemes are considered to be a necessity for measuring and modeling the load capacity and flow pattern of the facility. This paper contains experimental and numerical characterization of a new data center laboratory using practical measurements methods, including tiles and CRAH flow measurements. Then a full physics based CFD model is built to simulate/predict the measured data. A rapid flow curve method is used showing high accuracy and low computational expense.

Detailed descriptions of the data center structure, dimensions, layout (Appendix, A-1) and flow devices are given. Also, modeling parameters are mentioned in details to provide a baseline for any investigative parametric or sensitivity studies. Four experimental room level flow constraint scenarios are applied at which measurements were taken, (Appendix, A-2). The model is then built and calibrated then used to predict measurements.

Measurements of the cooling unit were performed using hot wire anemometry with a traverse duct installed at the top of the CRAH. The tiles measurements were carried out using a flow hood with back pressure compensation. A detailed CFD model is constructed to predict the four experimental cases. For modeling the interdependency between the flow and pressure in flow devices flow curve approach is used. This is a rapid modeling technique that relies on experimentally measured (for IT) or approximated (for CRAH) flow curves. Applying the operational flow curves boundary conditions at the vents of the flow device results in a very accurate simulation model. It is also shown that the flow curves can be used to predict the real-time flow rate of servers at known RPM. This greatly simplifies flow rate measurements of IT in the data center.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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