cold rooms & machines

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Thu Jul 24 15:12:25 EDT 2003

On Wed, 23 Jul 2003, Ken Chase wrote:

> A group I know wants to put a cluster in their labs, but they
> dont have any facilities for cooling _EXCEPT_ a cold room to store
> chemicals and conduct experiments at 5C (its largely unused and could
> probably be set to any temp up to 10C, really - even -10C if desired
> ;)
> The chillers in there are pretty underworked and might be able to
> handle the 3000W odd of heat that would be radiating out of the 
> machines.
> What other criteria should we be looking at - non-condensing
> environment I would guess is one - is this just a function of the %RH
> in the room? What should it be set to? Any other concerns?

Air circulation.  The room needs to have a circulation pattern that
delivers cool air to the intake/front of the cluster and delivers warmed
air from the exhaust rear to the air return.  A cold room might or might
not have adequate airflow or chiller capacity, as it isn't really
engineered for active sources within the space but rather for removing
ambient heat from objects placed therein a single time, plus dealing
with heat bleeding through its (usually copious) insulation.

There are lots of (bad) things that could happen if the air circulation
isn't engineered right -- coils can freeze up, humidity can condense and
leak, cluster nodes can feed back heated air outside the cooled air
circulation and overheat.

I'd have them contact an AC engineer to go over the space and see
whether it can work, and if so what modifications are required.


> /kc

Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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