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Perimeter Cooling Unit and Localized Row-Based Cooling Unit Transient Air Flow Effects Modeling and Characterization in Data Centers

[+] Author Affiliations
Tianyi Gao, James Geer, Bahgat G. Sammakia

Binghamton University-SUNY, Binghamton, NY

Russell Tipton

Emerson Network Power, Columbus, OH

Mark Seymour

Future Facilities Limited, London, UK

Paper No. IMECE2015-51012, pp. V08BT10A044; 10 pages
  • ASME 2015 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 8B: Heat Transfer and Thermal Engineering
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 13–19, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5750-2
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Cooling power constitutes a large portion of the total electrical power consumption in data centers. Approximately 25%∼40% of the electricity used within a production data center is consumed by the cooling system. Improving the cooling energy efficiency has attracted a great deal of research attention. Many strategies have been proposed for cutting the data center energy costs. One of the effective strategies for increasing the cooling efficiency is using dynamic thermal management. Another effective strategy is placing cooling devices (heat exchangers) closer to the source of heat. This is the basic design principle of many hybrid cooling systems and liquid cooling systems for data centers. Dynamic thermal management of data centers is a huge challenge, due to the fact that data centers are operated under complex dynamic conditions, even during normal operating conditions. In addition, hybrid cooling systems for data centers introduce additional localized cooling devices, such as in row cooling units and overhead coolers, which significantly increase the complexity of dynamic thermal management. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to characterize the dynamic responses of data centers under variations from different cooling units, such as cooling air flow rate variations.

In this study, a detailed computational analysis of an in row cooler based hybrid cooled data center is conducted using a commercially available computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code. A representative CFD model for a raised floor data center with cold aisle-hot aisle arrangement fashion is developed. The hybrid cooling system is designed using perimeter CRAH units and localized in row cooling units. The CRAH unit supplies centralized cooling air to the under floor plenum, and the cooling air enters the cold aisle through perforated tiles. The in row cooling unit is located on the raised floor between the server racks. It supplies the cooling air directly to the cold aisle, and intakes hot air from the back of the racks (hot aisle). Therefore, two different cooling air sources are supplied to the cold aisle, but the ways they are delivered to the cold aisle are different. Several modeling cases are designed to study the transient effects of variations in the flow rates of the two cooling air sources. The server power and the cooling air flow variation combination scenarios are also modeled and studied. The detailed impacts of each modeling case on the rack inlet air temperature and cold aisle air flow distribution are studied. The results presented in this work provide an understanding of the effects of air flow variations on the thermal performance of data centers. The results and corresponding analysis is used for improving the running efficiency of this type of raised floor hybrid data centers using CRAH and IRC units.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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