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Effect of temperature and humidity on the corrosion rates of copper and silver in an IT Equipment
Keywords: corrosion, contamination , IT Equipment reliability
The ASHRAE TC9.9 committee of IT equipment manufacturers has defined a recommended temperature-humidity range in which the IT equipment manufacturers guarantee reliable operation of their equipment; though they allow temperature-humidity excursions outside the recommended range for short periods of undefined duration and frequency. There is a need to know the degree of reliability degradation when the equipment is operated, outside the recommended range, in the allowable temperature-humidity range in geographies with high levels of gaseous and particulate contamination. There are many modes of hardware failure under harsh temperature-humidity conditions. This paper restricts itself to the effect of temperature and humidity on corrosion-related hardware failures, in sulfur-bearing gaseous contaminated environments, by studying copper and silver corrosion rates as a function of temperature and humidity; the assumption being that the frequency of occurrence of corrosion-related hardware failures is proportional to the copper and silver corrosion rates. An ASHRAE survey of data centers has shown that there is a strong relationship of corrosion-related hardware failure frequency to copper and silver corrosion rates. The paper does not address the role of particulate contamination. The paper uses the rate of change of the electrical resistance of copper and silver thin films to measure copper and silver corrosion rates as a function of temperature and humidity. The gaseous contamination is provided in the form of approximately 70 ppb free sulfur in a flowers of sulfur (FOS) chamber maintained at 30C constant temperature. The humidity in the FOS chamber is maintained at various levels by using saturated salt solutions and the thin film temperature is maintained at various levels between 30 and 50C by the joule heating of the films. The corrosion rates of copper and silver, in a 30C ambient with ~70 ppb free sulfur, are plotted in the upper right corner of the ASHRAE A1-A4 allowable temperature-humidity ranges. For the first time, corrosion data are provided on the psychrometric chart in a form convenient for obtaining the x-factors for temperature and humidity for corrosion-related hardware failures
Kanan Pujara, Graduate Student
University of Texas, Arlington
Arlington, Texas

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