The maximum equipment power density (e.g. in power/rack or power/area) that may be deployed in a typical raised-floor data center is limited by perforated tile airflow. In the design of a data center cooling system, a simple estimate of mean airflow per perforated tile is typically made based on the number of CRAC’s and number of perforated tiles (and possibly a leakage airflow estimate). However, in practice, many perforated tiles may deliver substantially more or less than the mean, resulting in, at best, inefficiencies and, at worst, equipment failure due to inadequate cooling. Consequently, the data center designer needs to estimate the magnitude of variations in perforated tile airflow prior to construction or renovation. In this paper, over 240 CFD models are analyzed to determine the impact of data-center design parameters on perforated tile airflow uniformity. The CFD models are based on actual data center floor plans and the CFD model is verified by comparison to experimental test data. Perforated tile type and the presence of plenum obstructions have the greatest potential influence on airflow uniformity. Floor plan, plenum depth, and airflow leakage rate have modest effect on uniformity and total airflow rate (or average plenum pressure) has virtually no effect. Good uniformity may be realized by using more restrictive (e.g. 25%-open) perforated tiles, minimizing obstructions and leakage airflow, using deeper plenums, and using rectangular floor plans with standard hot aisle/cold aisle arrangements.

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