Data Center hybrid air/liquid cooling systems such as rear door heat exchangers, overhead and in row cooling systems enable localized, on-demand cooling, or “smart cooling.” At the heart of all hybrid cooling systems is an air to liquid cross flow heat exchanger that regulates the amount of cooling delivered by the system by modulating the liquid or air flows and/or temperatures. Due the central role that the heat exchanger plays in the system response, understanding the transient response of the heat exchanger is crucial for the precise control of hybrid cooling system. This paper reports on the transient experimental characterization of heat exchangers used in data centers applications. An experimental rig designed to introduce controlled transient perturbations in temperature and flow on the inlet air and liquid flow streams of a 12 in. × 12 in. heat exchanger test core is discussed. The conditioned air is delivered to the test core by a suction wind tunnel with upstream air heaters and a frequency variable axial blower to allow the control of air flow rate and bulk temperature. The conditioned water is delivered to the test core by a water delivery system consisting of two separate water circuits, one delivering cold water, and the other hot water. By switching from one circuit to the other or mixing water from both circuits, the rig is capable of generating step, ramp and frequency perturbations in water temperature at constant flow or step, ramp or frequency perturbations in water flow at constant temperature or combinations of temperature and water flow perturbations. Experimental data are presented for a 12×12 heat exchanger core with a single liquid pass under different transient perturbations.

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