The work presented in this paper is an extension of the companion work by the authors on a simplified thermodynamic model for data center optimization, in which a recirculation non-uniformity metric, θ, was introduced and used in a parametric analysis to highlight the deleterious effect of recirculation non-uniformity at the inlet of racks on the data center cooling infrastructure power consumption. In this work, several studies are done using a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) package to verify many of the assumptions necessary in the development of the simplified model and to understand the degree of recirculation non-uniformity present in typical data center configurations. A number of CFD simulations are used to quantify the ability of the simple model at predicting θ. The results show that the simple model provides a fairly accurate estimate of θ, with a standard deviation in the prediction error of ∼10–15%. The CFD analysis are also to understand the effect of row length and server temperature rise (ΔTs) temperature non-uniformity. The simulations show that reasonable values of θ range from 2–6 for open aisle data centers depending on operating strategy and data center layout. As a means to understand the effect of buoyancy, a data center Archimedes number (Ar), the ratio of buoyancy to inertia forces, is introduced as a function of tile flow rate and server temperature rise. For servers with modest temperature rise (∼ 10.0°C), Ar is ∼0.1; however, for racks with large temperature rise (∼20°C), Ar > 1.0, meaning buoyancy needs to be considered important. Through CFD analysis the significant effect buoyancy has on the inlet rack temperature patterns is highlighted. The Capture Index (ψ), the ratio of cold air ingested by the racks to the required rack flow, is used to investigate its relationship to the ratio of server flow to tile flow (Y), as the inlet rack temperature patterns are changed by increased Ar. The results show that although the rack inlet temperature patterns are extremely different, ψ does not change significantly as a function of Ar. Lastly, the effect of buoyancy on the assumption of linearity of the temperature field is considered for a range of Ar. The results show the emergence of a stratified temperature pattern at the inlet of the racks as Ar increases and buoyancy becomes more important. It is concluded that under these conditions, a δT change in tile temperature does not produce a δT change in temperature everywhere in the field.

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