Research Papers: Heat Transfer Enhancement

Thermal Characteristics of Open and Contained Data Center Cold Aisle

[+] Author and Article Information
Vaibhav K. Arghode

e-mail: vaibhav.arghode@me.gatech.edu

Yogendra Joshi

George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30332

Wally Phelps

Degree Controls Inc.,
Milford, NH 03055

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received November 20, 2012; final manuscript received January 23, 2013; published online May 16, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Leslie Phinney.

J. Heat Transfer 135(6), 061901 (May 16, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: HT-12-1620; doi: 10.1115/1.4023597 History: Received November 20, 2012; Revised January 23, 2013

Cold aisle containment is used in raised floor, air cooled data centers to minimize direct mixing between the supplied cold air and the hot air exiting from the servers. The objective of such a system is to minimize the server inlet air temperatures. In this paper, large scale air temperature field measurements are performed to investigate the hot air entrainment characteristics in the cold aisle in both open and contained aisle conditions. Both under-provisioned and over-provisioned scenarios were examined. Thermal field measurements suggest significant improvement in the cold air delivery for the case with contained aisle as compared to open aisle. Even for an over-provisioned case with open aisle, hot air entrainment was observed from the aisle entrance; however, for the contained aisle condition, close to perfect cold air delivery to the racks was observed. For both under-provisioned and over-provisioned cases, the aisle containment tended to equalize the tile and rack air flow rates. Balance air is expected to be leaked into or out of the containment to makeup the flow rate difference for the contained aisle condition. The CFD modeling strategy at the aisle level is also discussed for open aisle condition. Our previous investigation for rack level modeling has shown that consideration of momentum rise above the tile surface improves the predictive capability as compared to the generally used porous jump model. The porous jump model only specifies a step pressure loss at the tile surface without any influence on flow field. The momentum rise above the tile surface was included using a modified body force model by artificially specifying a momentum source above the tile surface. The modified body force model suggested higher air entrainment and higher reach of cold air as compared to the porous jump model. The modified body force model was able to better capture hot air entrainment through aisle entrance and compared well with the experimental data for the end racks. The generally used porous jump model suggested lower hot air entrainment and under predicted the server inlet temperatures for end racks.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
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Fig. 1

(a) Domain for the Data Center Laboratory (DCL), representation of (b) open aisle and (c) closed aisle, (d) internal, and (e) external view of the containment system

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Fig. 2

Data Center Laboratory (DCL) test section layout

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Fig. 6

Temperature contours on middle plane case with only CRAC 1 on

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Fig. 5

Measured, (a) aisle and (b) plenum pressure for different cases

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Fig. 4

Measured, (a) total tile and (b) total rack air flow rates, (c) tile/rack air flow ratio, and (d) total rack heat loads for different cases

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Fig. 3

Measured, (a) tile and (b) rack air flow rates and (c) rack heat loads for different cases (Racks 2–7 and 10–13 have rear door heat exchangers)

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Fig. 7

Temperature contours on middle plane for case with both CRAC 1 and 2 on

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Fig. 8

Server inlet temperature for case with only CRAC 1 turned on

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Fig. 9

Server inlet temperature for case with both CRAC 1 and 2 turned on




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