Design and validation of an airflow management system in data center with tilted server placement

Xiaolei Yuan, Xinjie Xu, Yu Wang, Jinxiang Liu*, Risto Kosonen, Hao Cai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


An innovative airflow optimisation method applying tilted servers was introduced to improve the airflow distribution and cooling efficiency in data centers. The numerical data center model was established and simulated by Airpak 3.0 packages and validated with on-site measurements in Nanjing, China. In the analysis, different server inclination angles and different heat load levels were simulated. The simulation model is validated well with the on-site experimental results. The results show that the performance of airflow distribution and cooling efficiency can be improved with the application of 15° and 30° tilted servers, while the optimum thermal environment is achieved when the angle of servers is set to 30°. When the heat load of rack is 32 kW, the maximum temperature reduces by 3.3 °C when the 30° tilted servers are used instead of 0° tilted servers. That decreases significantly the temperature of rack hotspots and thus prevents local hotspots. Moreover, the heat transfer from the rack is at least 5.7% more efficient with the rack applying 30° tilted servers compared with the 0° tilted servers in all cases with different heat load. The heat transfer even improved 10% when the heat load is 32 kW in each rack.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114444
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Early online date25 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Airflow management
  • Data centers
  • Local hotspot
  • Rack hotspot
  • Temperature distribution
  • Tilted servers

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