A hybrid lumped capacitance-CFD model for the simulation of data center transients

Hamza Salih Erden, H. Ezzat Khalifa, Roger R. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Transient thermal events in air-cooled data centers may lead to undesirable operating conditions such as the formation of hot spots and associated degradation of equipment reliability. These transients may be caused by cooling equipment failures, server load changes, or other time-dependent scenarios in data center operations. This paper introduces a fast-executing hybrid computational fluid dynamics (CFD)/Lumped-Capacitance model for predicting server inlet temperatures resulting from common transient events such as server shutdown, partial or total chilled water interruption, or partial or total failure of the computer room air handlers (CRAH). The model uses initial steady-state CFD or experimental data in combination with several lumped-capacitance models of the various thermal masses in the data center, including the servers, the room enclosure, the CRAHs and the underfloor plenum. The inclusion of these thermal capacitances and their associated thermal conductance was found to be an important contributor to the overall transient response of the data center air-space. The model predictions have been compared with experimental data obtained in a three-rack data-center test cell and found to agree well with the experimental measurements. Examples of the application of the model to more realistic data center configurations are also given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-702
Number of pages15
JournalHVAC and R Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 18 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


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