With the explosive growth of the internet, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and high-performance computing (HPC), data centers are powering dramatic changes not just in business but in quality of life. But they come at a cost. U.S. data centers consume enormous amounts of electricity, some 2% of total energy consumption according to the U.S. EPA, much of it simply to run chiller units and fans to cool the computing hardware.
To help alleviate the cost of server cooling and its impact on the environment, 3M is leading the liquid cooling revolution for data centers. Our line of 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids offer properties that make them ideal for immersion cooling, both in single-phase and two-phase operation. The result? Energy use (and costs) can be slashed by up to 97% while shrinking data center size and enabling optimal performance of server hardware — while helping reduce environmental impacts.
Data center immersion cooling helps improve thermal design by directly immersing IT hardware in a non-conductive liquid. Heat generated by the electronic components is directly and efficiently transferred to the fluid, thereby reducing otherwise needed active cooling components, such as interface materials, heat sinks and fans. These improvements increase energy efficiency and enable higher packaging densities.
3M has worked with leaders in the data center space to create fluids that are ideal for these applications and offer unique benefits such as a wider range of boiling points. Best of all, the technology is backed by more than 50 years of 3M’s material and application knowledge.
Liquid immersion cooling using Novec engineered fluids contributes to a lower cost of ownership in many ways, adding up to one smart choice for a business. Direct liquid cooling improves efficiency and reduces costs at every phase of your data center’s life, from design and construction, to operation, to maintenance, repair and replacement of hardware.
The clearest advantage will be evident in your electric bill. The most efficient immersion cooling methods can help improve data center energy efficiency (often the largest electricity cost for a data center) by up to 97%.
The improved cooling capacity means you can position electronics closer together — so you can fit 10 times the compute density in a given space. This opens the possibilities of where you can put a data center.
With greater thermal efficiency, you can increase processing power and reduce latency beyond the limits of air cooling.
Liquid immersion cooling eliminates airborne contaminants and simplifies thermal design to reduce moving parts. This means you can run your electronics at full capacity with less wear and tear.
Saving energy is not only good for the bottom line — it’s good for the earth. Less power used means less need to generate electricity, which in turn means less fuel used and fewer emissions. Smaller data centers save construction materials and maintenance. If your goal is a greener data center, 3M Novec Engineered Fluids make these outcomes possible and at the same time feature:
Building a data center that uses immersion cooling doesn’t compromise safety for your operator. 3M designs all Novec engineered fluids to feature:
Whatever your business, liquid immersion cooling can play a role in unlocking additional opportunities and efficiencies. As a pioneer and innovator in immersion cooling, 3M has helped launch successful immersion-cooled data centers.
Server manufacturers, system integrators and data center engineers all face similar challenges: Design and assemble a data center that answers core customer needs in terms of cost, performance and reliability. Immersion cooling using Novec engineered fluids can help you answer those, and other practical needs, without compromise.
Immersion cooling involves putting electronics directly in a non-conductive fluid, allowing heat to be transferred directly from components into the heat transfer fluid. In traditional cooling systems, heat must transfer through several levels of thermal interface materials, air, heat exchangers and working fluids. Immersion cooling simplifies thermal design and increases heat transfer efficiency.
Many factors should be evaluated when selecting a working fluid. 3M Novec Engineered Fluids have a number of significant advantages versus other classes of dielectric fluids, including mineral oil. In addition to being non-flammable and non-combustible, Novec fluids have the boiling points and thermal stability needed for two-phase immersion cooling operations. Servicing and maintenance are made easy, since the electronics come out of Novec fluid clean and dry.
Immersion cooling systems are typically designed to be serviceable and hot-swappable, but are also designed with fluid containment in mind. By following 3M best practices and purchasing from a 3M authorized immersion cooling OEM, fluid losses can be held to inconsequential amounts.
Vendors are already offering proprietary server and mechanical systems based upon this technology, with others in development.
Two-phase passive immersion cooling exponentially increases heat transfer efficiency from boiling and condensation of Novec engineered fluids. This simple approach features almost no moving parts.
In single-phase immersion cooling the fluid has a higher boiling point and remains in its liquid phase throughout the process.
Thermal management challenges and techniques come in a variety of forms, so the unique properties of our fluids can be applied in a variety of ways to solve those challenges. One such challenge is the complexity of applying direct-to-chip (D2C) water cooling, due to the risk of leaks and difficulty cooling a series of processors in the same circuit. 3M Novec Engineered Fluids are a compelling working fluid option in these applications.
Let 3M put our decades of experience in immersion cooling and data centers to work for you. Contact us with questions or requests that can help you realize your vision for your next data center project. We can help with: