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DATA CENTER CONDENSER OPTIMIZATION: A DISCRETIZED MODELLING APPROACH TO IMPROVE PUMPED TWO-PHASE COOLING CYCLES
Rising interest in high-performance servers in data centers to support the increasing demands for cloud-computing and storage have challenged thermal management systems. To prevent these increased power density servers from overheating due to the high heat fluxes dissipated, new cooling methods have continued to be investigated in recent years. One such solution is pumped two-phase cooling which shows promise over traditional air cooling due to the reduced power consumption it requires to operate, while also being able to dissipate large amounts of heat from the small components in servers.
Although pumped two-phase systems as a cooling strategy have existed for multiple decades, sub-optimal component design have hindered the potential efficiencies achievable. This is especially prevalent in the condenser where, in order to meet required metrics, these heat exchangers are commonly oversized due to maldistribution at low vapor qualities and a lack of understanding about the condensation behavior within certain geometries.
Through the work presented in this thesis, the capabilities of an air-cooled microchannel condenser model are explored for future use in optimization studies for data center applications. To perform this research, an investigation into the boundary conditions of these systems and common condenser modeling strategies were carried out. Using this knowledge, a flexible discretized condenser model was developed to capture the behavior of pumped two-phase cooling in data centers under a wide range of operating conditions. In conjunction, an experimental test setup was sized, designed, and constructed to provide validation for the model. Then, using the model, some initial parametric studies were conducted to identify the sensitivity effects of various parameters on overall condenser performance. In this initial study, some favored boundary conditions and geometries were found that both minimize refrigerant pressure drops and maximize heat transfer. For an air-cooled condenser operating with R1234ze(E), these include: refrigerant entering the condenser around 40% quality, operating at moderate refrigerant mass fluxes through the channels (130 - 460 kg/m^2-s), and designing microchannel condenser tubes with many tightly packed square ports. Continued investigation into the contributing parameters of weight in the future using the tools developed in this thesis will lead to further optimized condenser designs and operating conditions.
- Master of Science
- Mechanical Engineering
- West Lafayette