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Air-conditioning for special applications

Alongside Data Centers, which have been successfully equipped with reliable and efficient precision air-conditioning technology for a number of decades, there are a raft of other applications that require constant climatic conditions. Laboratories, archives, storage rooms, test rooms, museums – as a result of the goods that are stored in these areas or the processes that take place there, all of these applications require highly stable temperature and humidity conditions for short to very long periods. What separates this from air-conditioning for data centers is the thermal load, which is very low or even zero in certain cases.

For example, museums and archive rooms are used for storing unique and priceless cultural objects for very long periods. Here, historic books, documents, parchments, works of art, and artifacts or films are stored under clearly defined room conditions to protect them in the long term and to preserve them for future generations. In addition to air quality, light, and the danger posed by pests, the air temperature and the air humidity are the main factors that influence the durability of the materials. High temperatures speed up the reaction of harmful substances with the materials, alter the acid content, and promote microbiological growth. Temperature fluctuations cause expansion and shrinkage, which in turn leads to material fracture. A high level of air humidity leads to corrosion, warping, cracks, and bacterial growth, whereas low humidity causes the material to dry out and shrink.

In test rooms, in which all kinds of measurements are performed on a wide range of objects and materials using highly sensitive apparatus, it is also necessary to adhere to defined temperature and humidity conditions for the purpose of measuring accuracy. The periods of time that apply in this case are relatively short and are measured in hours or days. A measurement normally consists of a stabilization phase, in which the required room conditions are set, and the subsequent measurement phase, in which the actual measurement takes place. Major fluctuations in temperature or humidity influence the measurement process, reduce the precision of the measurement, and must therefore be reduced to a minimum.

Laboratories are used in a wide range of areas. A distinction is drawn between biology, chemistry, and physics laboratories. The processes that take place there are so diversified that it is impossible to list them all in this text. To provide just a small selection, for example, there are laboratories for biochemistry, botany, pharmacy, organic and inorganic synthesis and analysis, lasers, optics, electronics, and much more besides.

Once again, all of these applications require a stable air temperature and stable air humidity. Further important factors include the air quality, movement, distribution, and speed, as well as the noise level and static underpressure or overpressure.

All these applications therefore share the need for constant air temperature and humidity conditions at a thermal load that is either zero or only very low. The air conditioning that is to be used must therefore be able to meet these requirements in a very reliable (and also efficient) manner in the long term using suitable components and control algorithms. In the case of precision air-conditioning units that were developed for data center air-conditioning, this is only possible if these units are adapted accordingly. The CyberLab from STULZ was specially developed for these requirements and precisely controls the temperature and the humidity with a tolerance of +/-0.5°C and +/-3% relative humidity. This makes CyberLab the first choice for applications with these special requirements.

About the Author

About the Author

Benjamin Petschke was born in 1969 in Germany. After studying physics he joined STULZ in 1996 and worked since then in the R&D, Export and Marketing department on different positions. With 19+ years’ experience in the Data Center cooling industry, Mr Petschke is specialised in Data Center cooling design, energy saving and acoustic issues.

He works closely with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission for the Code of Conduct on Data Centres on the Best Practice section and recently with the German DKE in development of the DIN EN 50600, Information technology – Data Centre facilities and infrastructures.

Mr Petschke authored White Papers on subjects like Best Practice for Data Centre Cooling and Indirect Free Cooling with Dynamic Control Logic.

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