Impact of Tile Design on the Thermal Performance of Open and Enclosed Aisles

[+] Author and Article Information
Sadegh Khalili

Department of Mechanical Engineering, ES2 Center, Binghamton University-SUNY, NY, USA

Mohammad Tradat

Department of Mechanical Engineering, ES2 Center, Binghamton University-SUNY, NY, USA

Kourosh Nemati

Future Facilities Inc., San Jose, CA, USA

Mark Seymour

Future Facilities Ltd., London, UK

Bahgat Sammakia

Department of Mechanical Engineering, ES2 Center, Binghamton University-SUNY, NY, USA

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039028 History: Received October 13, 2017; Revised November 28, 2017


In raised floor data centers, tiles with high open area ratio or complex understructure are used to fulfill the demand of today's high-density computing. Using more open tiles reduces the pressure drop across the raised floor with the potential advantages of increased airflow and lower noise. However, it introduces the disadvantage of increased non-uniformity of airflow distribution. In addition, there are various tile designs available on the market with different opening shapes or understructures. Furthermore, a physical separation of cold and hot aisles (containment) has been introduced to minimize the mixing of cold and hot air. In this study, three types of floor tiles with different open area, opening geometry, and understructure are considered. Experimentally validated detail models of tiles were implemented in CFD simulations to address the impact of tile design on the cooling of IT equipment in both open and enclosed aisle configurations. Also, impacts of under-cabinet leakage on the IT equipment inlet temperature in the provisioned and under-provisioned scenarios are studied. In addition, a predictive equation for the critical under-provisioning point that can lead to a no-flow condition in IT equipment with weaker airflow systems is presented. Finally, the impact of tile design on thermal performance in a partially enclosed aisle with entrance doors is studied and discussed.

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