A major concern for server designers and data center op […]
A major concern for server designers and data center operators is system reliability. The average cost of any data center outage is more than $690,000. One of the basic ways to ensure high reliability is to use spare parts when the primary part fails. Liquid cooling systems often use a backup pump to prevent loss of circulating fluid. However, a single quick connector in a refrigeration system is also a point of failure. Failed connectors are not backed up, so any leak could take out an entire server rack. Therefore, the design, structure and quality of the quick connector are all critical. When choosing a quick connector for cooling servers and other high-end computers, there are five factors to keep in mind to ensure reliability:
1. Rugged Design and Construction
Quick connectors for liquid cooling systems need to be durable and robust. It can also be used in low voltage applications and can be connected for long periods of time before it needs to be disconnected. The pressure drop across the connections should also be low, which minimizes throttling effects and reduces the load on the cooling system pumps. Some liquid cooling systems use quick connectors used in the hydraulic industry due to higher durability. However, the seals and built-in valves of these connections are not suitable for low pressure applications where connectors are required to be connected for months or years at a time. When choosing quick connectors for liquid refrigeration systems, look for connectors that are designed for low pressure applications and are ruggedly constructed.
Technicians need to be able to easily disconnect a server's cooling circuit without risking water or other coolant leaking onto sensitive electronics.
2. "Dry break" capability
The quick-break non-drip connector has two built-in valves that automatically shut off the fluid path when the connector is disconnected. One of the two-way valved connectors is designed with a built-in valve that leaves a small amount of liquid at the female end when the connector is disconnected, and the small amount of liquid drips out after the connector is disconnected. While not a lot -- maybe just one or two -- it can also create safety or reliability concerns around electronics.
In contrast, true dry-disconnect connectors have flat-port valves with only a thin layer of coolant remaining on the valve end surfaces. In fact, this also rules out the possibility of liquid dripping onto critical components. Select precision-manufactured connectors with built-in flat port valves, ideal for liquid cooling.
3. Easy to operate
It is critical to be able to easily disconnect the server cooling circuit without causing any leaks. Whether it is a plug-in connection or a twist-lock connection, the valve needs to shut off very reliably, even if the disconnection occurs months or years after it has been connected. Another aspect of ease of operation is that the connectors are color-coded, which ensures hot-to-hot and cold-to-cold connections in the circulation lines. When the cooling system is equipped with properly designed quick disconnect connectors, maintenance is simplified and availability is guaranteed.
Technicians who are skilled at connecting and disconnecting Ethernet and power cables will have few problems with quick disconnects.
4. Elastic sealing ring
Connectors used in liquid cooling applications remain connected for extended periods of time. Once disconnected and reconnected, the connector must be functional to ensure that no coolant drips or leaks. An improperly designed or manufactured seal can create a "device" that can leak when disconnected. The seal must also be compatible with the coolant to prevent the seal from swelling, shrinking, breaking or bending. In some cases, the connector may have a double seal to enhance the sealing effect and ensure higher reliability. However, double seals create more friction in the system, which in turn can reduce reliability if not designed properly.
5. Material compatibility
Most plastics and metals are compatible with coolants such as water-glycol mixtures. However, if your cooling system uses a proprietary coolant, make sure the coolant is compatible with the connector housings, seals, valves, and hoses. Special care should be taken when choosing metal connectors for cooling systems. Metal connectors may come into contact with the server chassis, where electrolysis and corrosion may occur due to different metals. Products developed from metal ball-and-socket hydraulic connectors are not suitable for cooling, so carefully check material compatibility. Compatibility issues can be avoided by using metal connectors specifically for liquid cooling.
In liquid cooling systems that reduce heat, quick disconnects play a big role.
Today's electronics are becoming faster and more power-dense, and an efficient and economical way to dissipate the heat they generate is through liquid cooling of computers and servers. By cooling the heat source, the need for air conditioning and the attendant cost and carbon impact are reduced.
Refrigeration system designs are still being refined, and it is important to understand the role quick disconnects play in these systems and how they ensure system reliability. Long-term connector performance can be assured by evaluating connector robustness, valve, seal and material compatibility. To make a good choice for your application, you need to work with a supplier who understands liquid cooling requirements and offers a wide variety of connector options, including application-specific cooling connectors and custom-designed connectors to customer requirements.