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Holistic Study of Thermal Management in Direct Liquid Cooled Data Centres: from the Chip to the Environment

Kadhim, Mustafa Alaa Kadhim (2018) Holistic Study of Thermal Management in Direct Liquid Cooled Data Centres: from the Chip to the Environment. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The IT (Information Technology) infrastructure power consumption constitutes a large portion of global electricity consumption and a large proportion of this energy is to maintain an acceptable thermal environment for the IT equipment. Therefore, it is important to understand and improve the thermal and energy management of data centres for lower cost and higher sustainability. Toward this goal, Direct Contact Liquid Cooled (DCLC) servers, where liquid loop heat exchangers are attached to the CPU, were proposed to study the use of chiller-less energy efficient data centre. Thirty Sun Fire V20z servers in a data centre rack have their CPUs water cooled with the remaining components air cooled, together with a rear door heat exchanger to capture this air heat flow. The heat generated by the servers is ultimately transferred to the environment using an Air Handling Unit (AHU). The AHU was fitted with a water spray system to increase the heat transfer capacity. The designed DCLC system was tested and characterised in terms of power consumption and thermal performance. The design successfully provided stable inlet coolant temperature (±1℃) to the IT despite the variation in the IT workload and environmental conditions. Activating the spray reduced the thermal resistance of the AHU heat exchanger (HE) by 50%. However, the power consumption and pressure drop across the HE was increased. The flow distribution and the coolant pumping configurations of centralised (where the coolant is pumped by two central pumps connected in series) and distributed (where small pumps inside the servers are activated) was investigated. The EPANET software was used to analyse the flow and showed that the servers in the top of the rack receive a higher flow rate (by approximately 30%) than the servers in the bottom of the rack. This resulted in a variation in the CPU temperatures of different servers. Optimisation analysis proposed increasing the manifolds size to improve the flow rate and reduce the flow maldistribution. In the distributed pumping case, the CPUs temperature showed to be 2℃ higher compared with the central pumping case for the high IT workload. The rack inlet temperature was tested in the range of the ASHRAE W4 envelope in terms of CPU temperatures, power consumption and computational efficiency. Increasing the coolant inlet temperature resulted in high energy saving in the AHU, while the rack energy consumption increases marginally in idle operation and considerably more in high IT workloads. This results in an improvement in the energy effectiveness of 17% but a deterioration in the computational efficiency of 4%. Finally, a parallel study was carried out to investigate the droplet evaporation over heated surfaces which ultimately be used in studying sprays in the AHU or in direct on chip cooling via evaporation. A novel experimental design was proposed to track the lifetime of any droplet size that span the surface tension to gravitydominated regimes. A theoretical model was also proposed to predict the droplet lifetime based on the initial contact angle, contact radius and the receding contact angle. The model predicted the droplet evaporation over hydrophobic surfaces with good accuracy of an error less than 4% while under estimated the evaporation with hydrophilic surfaces.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Data centres, liquid cooling, energy efficiency, energy effectiveness, heat rejection systems, dry cooler, chiller-less design, data centres design, servers, evaporation.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Mechanical Engineering (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Mechanical Engineering (Leeds) > Institute of Engineering Thermofluids, Surfaces & Interfaces (iETSI) (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.749438
Depositing User: Dr Mustafa Kadhim
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2018 11:08
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21185

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