If you are managing a data centre, you will already know the significance of cooling, (or temperature maintenance) and humidity, and you will have equipment and processes in place for managing these environmental conditions.
Do you also have mitigation in place for corrosion resulting from airborne contamination? Research from ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) suggests that gaseous (or airborne) pollutants can cause significant damage and should be monitored and controlled in data centres. This becomes more important for data centres that are located near industrial sites, areas of high traffic emissions, sewers or drains or landfill sites.
Current air quality monitoring standards for data centres
Poor air quality can lead to electronic corrosion, which can then lead to costly component failures and repair costs. Yet, despite the risks, most sensing technology for data centres focuses only on simple temperature and humidity sensors.
Free-cooling technology is becoming more widely used, which is excellent news for sustainability and savings on energy costs. However, this technology increases the amount of outdoor air brought into the data centre and vastly increases the risk of pollutants entering the building. For this reason, whichever method is used, monitoring temperature and humidity is no longer enough and monitoring for recognised pollutants is needed.
Corrosion in data centres
Pollutants that can cause corrosion include acidic gases and oxidising gases include:
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S)
Sulfur and nitrogen oxides (SOX, NOX)
Failures as a result of exposure to these gases may occur for hard disk drives, graphics cards, motherboards, capacitors and transistors (among others).
Similar damage may occur when storing valuable cultural artefacts: find out how air quality monitors are already being used at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Award winning monitors: Praxis/Urban and Praxis/Cube
South Coast Science instruments monitor gases and particulates at a resolution of parts per billion (ppb) and send environmental data directly to a cloud dashboard for easy retrieval and/or integration with other management tools.
The Praxis/Cube was independently recognised as Best Gas and Particulate Monitor 2021 and both Urban and Cube products have been shortlisted as finalists for product innovation awards. In addition, the Praxis/Urban has recently achieved MCERTS certification meaning the accuracy of the data it provides is independently certified and traceable to UK and European standards. Gas data uses the same ML technique to correct for effects of temperature and humidity.
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