Modern-day data center administrators are finding it increasingly difficult to lower the costs incurred in mechanical cooling of their IT equipment. This is especially true for high-performance computing facilities like Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin Mining, and Deep Learning, etc. Airside Economization or free air cooling has been out there as a technology for a long time now to reduce the mechanical cooling costs. In free air cooling, under favorable ambient conditions of temperature and humidity, outside air can be used for cooling the IT equipment. In doing so, the IT equipment is exposed to sub-micron particulate/gaseous contaminants that might enter the data center facility with the cooling airflow.

The present investigation uses a computational approach to model the airflow paths of particulate contaminants entering inside the IT equipment using a commercially available CFD code. A Discrete Phase Particle modeling approach is chosen to calculate trajectories of the dispersed contaminants. Standard RANS approach is used to model the airflow in the airflow and the particles are superimposed on the flow field by the CFD solver using Lagrangian particle tracking. The server geometry was modeled in 2-D with a combination of rectangular and cylindrical obstructions. This was done to comprehend the effect of change in the obstruction type and aspect ratio on particle distribution. Identifying such discrete areas of contaminant proliferation based on concentration fields due to changing geometries will help with the mitigation of particulate contamination related failures in data centers.

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