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Server Room Cooling — HVAC Simulation

Rising energy costs as well as the demand on market in efficiency result in new challenges and requirements for room climatisation. Server rooms are a very vivid example how important climatisation can be, because hot room temperature can reduce the performance of the servers and drastically increase the risk of system failure. In this blog post we want to show you how the climatisation of a server room can be investigated and optimized with the help of simulation.

Server Room Cooling Simulation

First, we upload the CAD model of the server room. The air is circulated through the room entering though the inlet (lower box on the wall) and leaving it though the outlet (higher box on the wall). Hot air is streaming from the cooling outlets of the server racks into the room. The image below shows the SimScale pre-processing viewer displaying the CAD model which was uploaded as a STEP model.

CAD model of a server room

CAD model of the server room

The next step is to create the computational grid. In this case we choose an automatic hex-dominant mesher for internal aerodynamics with boundary layer refinement. A cut view is shown in the figure below. The second figure shows a zoom into the refined cell layers at the wall to resolve the viscous boundary layer.

Cut view of the hex-dominant mesh of a server room on SimScale

Cut view of the hex-dominant mesh

Detailed view of the refined boundary layers - server room simulation

Detailed view of the refined boundary layers

The last step before we can run the simulation is to define boundary conditions and solver settings. We are using a natural convection solver and adapting the numerical settings in order to stabilize the simulation run. The simulation took around one hour on an 8-core machine.

Streamline visualization of the velocity field - simulation with SimScale

Streamline visualization of the velocity field

Iso-surface visualization of the temperature field - Server Room Cooling — HVAC Simulation with SimScale

Iso-surface visualization of the temperature field

The results show that the cooling concept is working. The outgoing flow of the inlet is blocked by the server racks and circulates into the gaps and between the walls and the racks.

The hot air from the servers is carried up by the flow and convection effects and thereby does not heat up the other servers. One can now run several “what if” scenarios to increase the efficiency of the cooling process or to adjust the detailed layout of the servers within the room.


Do you want to learn more about HVAC simulation? Here you can find more information about how CAE can help you improve your HVAC system.

Also, this article might interest you: 5 Simulation Projects for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC).

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