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Fan-Assisted Floor Tile
Prepared by:
Lars Strong, P.E.
Bruce Long
Upsite Technologies
December 6, 2014

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Evaluation of the CoolAssist fan assisted floor tile for use in a raised
floor computer room environments for additional cooling airflow.
The objective of this evaluation is to answer the questions:
1. Does the CoolAssist help to eliminate hot spots in server
2. Does the use of an CoolAssist, or any fan tile, support
effectively cooling higher heat loads in server racks?
3. Does a fan assisted floor tile improve data center
4. How much does a fan assisted floor tile affect the
surrounding static pressure?
Product Description
The CoolAssist fan assisted floor cooling system offers direct cooling to
areas where clusters of high-density servers have created hotspots or
where the hotspots are due to low airflow from under-floor restrictions
or obstructions. Fan assisted supply units like the CoolAssist mount
under raised floor perforated tiles or grates and draw the cold air
supplied by cooling units from the under-floor plenum and push it up
into the cold aisle where servers can draw the air in. Fan assisted
supply units deliver a higher flow rate of cooling air than would
otherwise be driven through the supply tile or grate by static pressure
The CoolAssist fan assembly comes in a manual control and a remote
temperature controlled version. The manual controlled unit uses an AC
triac that allows an infinite adjustment of fan speed from low to high.
The temperature controlled unit controls the fan speed from
temperature signals received from the 1 to 3 remote temperature
sensors. The speed of the fans will increase or decrease according to
temperature changes in the surrounding area.
Intended Use
The under floor fan assemblies are used to pull cold air from the under
floor plenum in areas where server loads require more air than the
static pressure of the raised floor plenum alone can deliver. The fan
assemblies are typically very portable and easily installed or moved
from one area to another. Fan assemblies should be placed as close as
possible to the front of the server cabinet. The larger the open area of
the perforated tile or grate that is placed over a fan assembly, the
higher the delivered flow rate of air will be for a given fan speed. The
fan assemblies are non-disruptive and since they are installed under
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the raised floor, they are a zero footprint installation, taking up no

floor area where equipment could be installed.
The increased volume of conditioned air delivered by fan assemblies
will reduce the temperature at server intakes where insufficient flow
rates of conditioned air caused hi intake air temperatures. According
to server manufacture data, lower run temperatures mean longer
server life and improved reliability.
Sound Level
The following information on sound levels was provided by the
manufacturer. Measurements were made using an Extech 407730
Digital Sound Level Meter:
Ambient noise level with CoolAssist off - 42.2 db
CoolAssist with fan speed at 30% - 70.3 db
CoolAssist with fan speed at 100% - 73.8 db

Raised Floor Plenum Static Pressure

The installation of any under floor fan units will have some effect on
the surrounding plenum static pressure. The more units that are
installed, the more the under floor static pressure will be affected but
this is also dependent on the available cooling capacity. When
installing one or two fan units, the affect on static pressure is minimal.
However, when installing multiple units, capacity measurements
should be made and considered.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modeling of IT Equipment Intake Air

Temperatures and Raised Floor Plenum Static Pressure
A CFD model representative of a typical computer room was created
to study the effects of fan assemblies on IT equipment intake air
temperatures and Raised-Floor plenum static pressures. Within the
room an eleven cabinet row was studied in detail. An existing
conditions model with eleven 25% open area perforated tiles was
compared to a model with A CoolAssist fan assembly placed in front of
every-other server cabinet for a total of six fan boost assemblies. All
other conditions in both models remained identical.
The following model parameters were used:
Total room size 279 sq m (3000 sq ft)
Raised floor height 0.6 m (2 ft)
Ceiling height 2.8 m (9.2 ft)
Total computer room heat load - 480 kW
Total row heat load - 68 kW
Highest cabinet heat load - 10 kW
Lowest cabinet heat load 2 kW
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Average cabinet heat load - 6 kW

IT equipment cooling flow rate 204 cmh (120 cfm)

Fig 1. The row studied is third from the top

Airflow Rate
The CoolAssist fan assembly has a manufactures rated maximum air
output of 4080 cmh (2400 cfm). The fan assembly was measured with
an Alnor Balometer: at maximum speed with a 68% open area tile the
measured flow rate was 3840 cmh (2260 cfm). An estimated flow rate
of 3109 cmh (1830 cfm) was calculated for a 55% open area grate, this
value was used in the CFD calculations. 55% open area is a common
open area for supply grates.
IT Heat Load Supported
Without the CoolAssist fan assemblies the eleven perforated tiles
supply a total of 9559 cmh (5623 cfm) of cooling airflow. At 204
cmh/kW (120 cfm/kW) this volume is able to support the cooling of 47

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kW, which is inadequate for the load in the row of 68 kW, so the row
experiences high intake air temperatures.

Fig 2. Temperatures at cabinet door surface before installation of


Fig 3. IT equipment intake air temperatures before installation of

CoolAssist. Maximum is 30.7 C (87.3 F)

With the six CoolAssist fan assemblies installed in front of the row the
total cooling airflow supplied by the fan assemblies and perforated
tiles is 22037 cmh (12963 cfm). The additional cooling airflow
eliminates all high intake temperatures. At 204 cmh/kW (120 cfm/kW)

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there is sufficient conditioned air to support a total IT equipment heat

load of 108 kW, or an average of 10 kW/cabinet.

Fig 4. Temperatures at cabinet door surface after installation of CoolAssist.

Fig 5. IT equipment intake air temperatures after installation of CoolAssist.

Maximum is 26.2C (79.1 F)

Recirculation is the condition when exhaust air from servers is drawn
back into servers before the exhaust air is able to return to a cooling
unit. This happens either as a result of poor airflow management, lack
of blanking panels etc., or the result of insufficient flow rates cooling
air being supplied to the cold aisle. In the CFD model there was an
insufficient volume of conditioned air supplied to the cold aisle so the
servers at the tops of the cabinets were drawing in recirculated
exhaust air. The installation of the CoolAssist fan assemblies provided
more than enough cooling air for the servers, thus preventing the
recirculation of exhaust air over the tops of the cabinets.

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Raised Floor Plenum Static Pressure

The results of the CFD model show that at 2.4 m (8 ft) away there was
a 36% reduction in static pressure. At 4.6 m (15 ft) away there was a
22% drop in static pressure. Therefore the effect of a fan unit on the
plenum static pressure drops off as the distance increases. These are
the results for this model, many variables affect what the influence of
fan assemblies will be in actual computer rooms, such as: raised floor
height, total airflow volume supplied, static pressure, subfloor
obstructions, number of fan assemblies installed, etc. The static
pressures of this CFD model were intentionally low compared to many
computer rooms to represent conservative conditions. The reduction
of static pressure is likely to be less significant in many computer

No CoolAssist
With CoolAssist

Average Static Pressure Pa (In H2O)

2.4 m (8 ft)
4.6 m (15 ft)
7.1 (0.029)
4.9 (0.020)
4.5 (0.018)
3.8 (0.015)

The evaluation of the CoolAssist fan assembly proves conclusively that
fan trays are effective for cooling higher server loads than what typical
plenum cooling can provide especially in lower under floor static
pressure environments. The CFD model proves that A CoolAssist fan
assembly can cool loads of 10kW or more while helping to eliminate
hotspots in high-density areas where adequate airflow cannot be
provided by conventional cooling methods. A CoolAssist like any under
floor fan tile assembly is a zero footprint installation that while
providing additional cooling take up no valuable data center floor

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