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Computational study of the impact of Thermal Shadowing in Non- Directed Flow for Air & Oil Cooled Servers
Keywords: Data center cooling, Oil cooling, Thermal Shadowing
In todays networking world, the usage of Servers and Data centers has been increasing significantly with a corresponding increase in power. The data center energy efficiency largely depends on thermal management of servers. Currently, air cooling is the most widely used thermal management technology in data centers. However, air cooling is starting to reach its limits due to high powered microprocessors and packaging. To overcome these limitations of air cooling in data centers, liquid cooling methods are starting to gain more traction, although liquid cooling have been utilized since the early 80s. In liquid cooling, servers can be cooled with indirect forced convection cooling using water or forced or submerged cooling using nonconductive liquid. Thermal Shadowing is a challenge for both air and low velocity oil flow cooling and as such, both air and low velocity dielectric flow cooling technologies need to be optimized to get high energy efficiency. This computational study calculates and compares the thermal shadowing effect in non-directed flow for both air and low velocity oil cooling systems. The analysis is carried out on different generations of open compute servers. Comparison of thermal shadowing effect for air and low velocity oil cooling will provide an insight in selection of cooling method. This study provides an insight to deploy the relative solution for both systems. Computational analysis is performed using ANSYS Icepak 2017 and the CFD results will be validated on the basis of series of experiments. It has been found, via CFD results that at very low flow rate thermal shadowing can be significant. For both first and third generation open compute servers, a recommendation is made about flow rates and maximum inlet temperature, air and mineral oil, to make sure that the maximum junction temperature is not exceeded. In particular, it is shown that careful design can help reduce thermal shadowing in third generation servers.
Chinmay Bhatt,
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas

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