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Are Air Dam Kits Really Necessary to Passive Cooling?

February 26, 2009

Recently one of our customers, who is planning to install CPI cabinets in a new data center, was wondering if Air Dam Kits are really necessary to their overall cooling strategy. Ian Seaton, CPI Marketing Technology Manager, explains the importance of an Air Dam Kit to CPI’s Passive Cooling Solution.

What is a CPI Air Dam Kit?

Air Dam Kit

An Air Dam Kit blocks airflow around the top, bottom and sides of equipment that receives cold air through the front door of the cabinet. The Air Dam Kit is used in the F-Series TeraFrame™ Cabinet System. An Air Dam Kit:

  • Creates an airflow barrier between the door and equipment along the top, bottom and sides of the cabinet
  • Guides cold air to equipment
  • Prevents hot and cold air from mixing within the cabinet
  • Attaches to the cabinet frame

If you are using a “typical” 1” rail set back, then your open space around the perimeter of the equipment mounting area is going to be 165”2, which equates to about 5 1/4 RMUs left open without blanking filler panels. Everybody knows you don’t leave open rack mount spaces unfilled with blanking panels. The rationale is no different for the space around the perimeter of the equipment mounting area.

Thermal Image

The above image shows a thermal photograph of leakage between servers and between cabinets pushed together. The thought here is that if you get this much re-circulation through spaces you cannot even see, just imagine what you’re going to be getting through that 1” gap between your equipment mounting rails and the cabinet frame. Actually, the situation is going to be worse in configurations that do not involve our ducted exhaust cabinet solution.

Air Dam Explanation

In most configurations, including in-row air conditioning, the static pressure behind the cabinets is going to be higher than the static pressure in front of the cabinets, so these gaps will be a source of re-circulated hot air that will affect the temperature of the inlet air to the servers. In the CPI solutions, where the pressure behind the servers will be lower, the flow will be reversed and these openings will be a source of bypass air.

If you have questions about Air Dam Kits or CPI Passive Cooling, please call us at 800-834-4969 or use the "Comments" link below. Kim Ream, Sr. eCommerce Specialist

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