The heat dissipated by high performance IT equipment such as servers and switches in data centers is increasing rapidly, which makes the thermal management even more challenging. IT equipment is typically designed to operate at a rack inlet air temperature ranging between 10 °C and 35 °C. The newest published environmental standards for operating IT equipment proposed by ASHARE specify a long term recommended dry bulb IT air inlet temperature range as 18°C to 27°C. In terms of the short term specification, the largest allowable inlet temperature range to operate at is between 5°C and 45°C. Failure in maintaining these specifications will lead to significantly detrimental impacts to the performance and reliability of these electronic devices. Thus, understanding the cooling system is of paramount importance for the design and operation of data centers. In this paper, a hybrid cooling system is numerically modeled and investigated. The numerical modeling is conducted using a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code. The hybrid cooling strategy is specified by mounting the in row cooling units between the server racks to assist the raised floor air cooling. The effect of several input variables, including rack heat load and heat density, rack air flow rate, in row cooling unit operating cooling fluid flow rate and temperature, in row coil effectiveness, centralized cooling unit supply air flow rate, non-uniformity in rack heat load, and raised floor height are studied parametrically. Their detailed effects on the rack inlet air temperatures and the in row cooler performance are presented. The modeling results and corresponding analyses are used to develop general installation and operation guidance for the in row cooler strategy of a data center.

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