There are molecules all around your data center. And they’re not working hard enough to keep your servers cool. Scott Davis wants to change that. Davis is the founder and CEO of Forced Physics DCT, a data center startup that has spent more than a decade pursuing the use of molecular physics to create a low-energy cooling solution for data centers. The company’s technology is finally ready for showtime, and was on display last week at the Data Center World 2019 Conference.
Forced Physics DCT is an unusual startup. It’s taken a slow path to market, eschewed venture capital funding, and built a supply chain prior to launching. The company’s booth on the expo floor of the Phoenix Convention Center featured demonstrations at the chassis, rack and container level, as well as a working prototype in a data hall at H5 Data Centers in nearby Chandler.
“This is radically different. It has to be demonstrated, so the industry knows that it works and it is safe.”
Scott Davis, founder and CEO of Forced Physics DCT
Some data center professionals believe Forced Physics is a company to watch. It can cool IT equipment with rack densities up to 36 kW per rack, and works with off-the-shelf form factors for racks and servers (although a custom chassis design is needed). The Forced Physics solution requires no water, refrigerant or compressors, creating the potential for a simple design that eliminates expensive mechanical infrastructure.
That creates the potential for exceptional energy efficiency. Forced Physics says its cooling conductor can operate with outside air of up to 130 degrees, and can deliver an mPUE (a version of the Power Usage Effectiveness efficiency metric) as low as 1.02.
It’s a compelling story. Davis understands that success for Forced Physics is tied to its ability to deliver on its tech and its potential.
“The challenge this industry poses to us is allowing our company to scale,” said Davis. “We now have a supply chain that is aware of what we have, and are able to deliver it at a scale for the Googles and Amazons of the world. You have to be able to deliver.”
Molecular Beams Create a Cooling Conductor
“How much do you know about physics?” That’s the first question Scott Davis asks as he explains the technology behind his cooling solution. It’s fair to say that Forced Physics takes a more granular approach to the science of cooling than many other market solutions. The short version is that Davis envisioned a way to use the movement of molecules to remove heat from a surface in an efficient and novel way.
The speed of the movement of molecules creates heat energy. Forced Physics focuses this movement to create a molecular beam, which creates a drop in temperature as beams of air are manipulated.
A server assembly with servers attached to both sides of the Forced Physics JouleForce Conductor cooling unit, which runs through the center. This unit was on display on the expo floor at Data Center World in Phoenix.
The science comes together in the JouleForce conductor, a metal component with exterior vents to introduce air, and more than 1,500 fins on each side to channel it. The effect creates the molecular beam that transforms the conductor’s exterior surface into a type of cold plate, cooled by air rather than fluid. Servers can be mounted directly on both sides of the conductor, which can cool up to 1,200 watts of electronics.
“We line up the air molecules with the geometry between the air fins,” said Davis. “It removes heat very efficiently and effectively. We move as little air as we can, and we have very dense cooling.”
A full demo is now installed at the H5 Data Centers Phoenix facility, where a data center suite is equipped with 27 conductors installed in a 32 kW standard OCP rack. H5 Data Centers CEO Josh Simms says Forced Physics is part of the data center industry’s evolution to supporting denser and more complex IT workloads.
To read more about Forced Physics, visit here.