How Immersion Cooling Creates Healthier Data Centers

HVAC systems can create noise in excess of 80dBAData centers can be noisy places.

Why? It’s a simple byproduct of how data centers have traditionally operated. Hundreds of servers (or more, when it comes to hyperscale data centers) operating in compact spaces can together create excessive noise. By some estimates, the average noise level around server areas reach up to 92 A-weighted decibels (dBA). And that’s not to mention the equipment typically required to keep them cool.

Research has shown that the constant humming of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can create noise sometimes in excess of 80 dBA, nearing the maximum acceptable threshold of 85 dBA during an 8-hour exposure period set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). As data centers become more dense and powerful, driven by an increasing need for greater computing power around the world, there is an escalating need to keep them cool. New cooling methods will be required—and noise control is one metric data centers should bear in mind.

One increasingly viable alternative is immersion cooling, in which all computer components are submerged in nonconducting dielectric fluid that helps maintain ideal operational temperatures. It is a technology gaining adoption as a practical option for overcoming data center heat issues.

For a deep dive into immersion cooling technology, read our white paper here.

Further, immersion cooling is quiet—and it has the potential to eliminate the excessive whirring and humming of HVAC systems while bringing a range of other benefits to your operations. At a time when labor is hard to come by, creating a safe environment where employees enjoy working can be a critical differentiator.

Noise: A Potential Hazard For Your Workforce

According to NIOSH, occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses and can be permanent. Further, the organization estimates that 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work each year. The consequences can be significant. Hearing loss is associated with communication difficulties and other health problems, including tinnitus, heart problems, cognitive decline, and poor mental health—making excess noise a true health and safety threat within your facility.

Additionally, noise can also create operational inefficiencies within your data center, including:

  • Communication issues between technicians and can lead to poor operational outcomes.
  • Increased stress and interference with concentration, leading to lower-quality work or potential safety issues.
  • Lower productivity and higher rates of absenteeism.

By eliminating the continuous noise associated with typical HVAC systems, data centers can mitigate each of these problems, creating a quieter, calmer, and healthier workplace.

Benefits of Immersion Cooling for Data CentersBenefits of Immersion Cooling for Data Centers

Along with the ability to reduce noise levels associated with traditional HVAC systems, immersion cooling’s benefits include:

  • Enhanced Power Density. Immersion cooling enables data centers to house and maintain server infrastructure to deliver more computing density and meet increased demand.
  • Better Thermal Performance. Less equipment throttling or downtime is experienced in systems with effective thermal management fluids.
  • Greater Power Usage Effectiveness. Immersion cooling eliminates the need for power-hungry air-cooling systems, allowing facilities to divert more kilowatt consumption directly to hardware.
  • Improved Sustainability. Single-phase immersion cooling consumes less water than other cooling solutions/technologies and eliminates fluorocarbon-based fluids (commonly used in two-phase cooling) that may have unfavorable global warming potential or chemical reactivity profiles.1
  • Environmental Adaptability. Immersion cooling allows data centers to be located anywhere geographically since it does not require external air to be brought into the data center for IT equipment cooling.

Today’s data center operators need to do more with less—less energy, physical space, downtime, and consideration of the environmental impact. Immersion cooling presents the market with a practical long-term solution to overcome the heat issues that plague modern-day data centers.

Interested in learning more?

CompuZol™ immersion cooling fluid solutions from Lubrizol address data center limitations posed by today’s air-cooling methods by delivering thermal management performance that enables increased computing density and a happier, healthier working environment. Contact your Lubrizol representative to find out how CompuZol can transform your data center operations today.

Learn more about immersion cooling solutions from Lubrizol

1 Two-phase cooling will be hit by EPA rules and 3M's exit from PFAS "forever chemicals" - DCD (