Mechanistic modeling of copper corrosions in data center environments

Rui Zhang, Jianshun Zhang, Roger Schmidt, Jeremy L. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Air-side economizers are increasingly used to take advantage of “free-cooling” in data centers with the intent of reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. However, they can introduce outdoor pollutants to indoor environment of data centers and cause corrosion damage to the information technology equipment. To evaluate the reliability of information technology equipment under various thermal and air-pollution conditions, a mechanistic model based on multi-ion transport and chemical reactions was developed. The model was used to predict Cu corrosion caused by Cl2-containing pollutant mixtures. It also accounted for the effects of temperature (25 °C and 28 °C), relative humidity (50%, 75%, and 95%), and synergism. It also identified higher air temperature as a corrosion barrier and higher relative humidity as a corrosion accelerator, which agreed well with the experimental results. The average root mean square error of the prediction was 13.7 Å. The model can be used to evaluate the thermal guideline for data centers design and operation when Cl2 is present based on pre-established acceptable risk of corrosion in data centers’ environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-492
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding Simulation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • chloride pollutant mixture
  • copper corrosion model
  • data center
  • relative humidity
  • synergistic effect
  • temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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