Data Centers


Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is Critically Important

Air quality within data centers is more important today than ever. Data centers have unique filtration requirements and strict regulations, compared to a typical commercial site. Particulate and corrosive gaseous contaminants have become a serious problem for data centers and server rooms. In some cases, corrosion of electronic components has resulted in catastrophic failures of equipment, due to environments -with elevated concentrations of corrosive gases. These contaminants enter data centers in a variety of ways, including via outdoor ventilation systems, adjacent interior areas, and individuals entering and exiting critical areas.

Types of Data Center Failures

Failures due to particulate and contaminant dust are generally classified as:

  • Mechanical effects – obstruction of cooling airflow, interference of moving or optical parts, and deformation of surfaces
  • Chemical effects – corrosion of electrical components, caused by dust comprised of sulfur and chlorine bearing salts
  • Electrical effects – impedance changes and electronic circuit conductor bridging

Any of these failures can lead to unplanned downtime and losses. Properly designed air filtration systems help to mitigate these risks and save maintenance and electrical costs down the road. Prevention of corrosion and other environmental contamination will help prevent critical hardware failures and data corruption.

Filtration Stops Corrosive Contaminants

Sulfur-bearing gases, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), are the most common gases causing corrosion of electronic equipment. Once introduced in a data center or server room environment, these gaseous contaminants lead to deterioration of copper surfaces and silver solder used on computer circuit boards, leading to intermittent and hard failures. These forms of corrosion can cause failure by either impeding the flow of electricity or forming unintended circuit paths. Elimination of corrosive contaminants is therefore essential in maintaining data center equipment reliability.

Optimize Your Filtration and Improve Your Environment

In data centers with air-side economizers, supplemental real-time monitoring, is recommended to enable quick reaction to outdoor events that may introduce corrosive gases into data centers. Real-time monitoring is also suggested for data centers with gas-phase filtration air cleaning systems to track the efficiency of the filters. 

For data centers with or without air-side economizers that do not fall within the ISA-71.04 severity level G1 for copper and silver corrosion, remediation through gas-phase filtration is recommended. Blowers at air inlets, fitted with particulate and gas-phase filters, can be used to fill the data center with clean air and pressurize the space within it to prevent contaminated outdoor air from entering the data center. Additionally, the air in the data center can be recirculated through gas-phase filters to remove contaminants that are generated within the data center. 

Contact us to schedule an air filtration audit and to find out how the insights from intelligent data tools can improve operational outcomes and save you time and money.

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