[Beowulf] Innovative liquid cooling

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Thu Mar 7 12:54:52 PST 2013

Use mead as coolant. The output would be mulled mead.

On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM, Lux, Jim (337C) <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>wrote:

> Using beer or ale as a coolant for a Beowulf is thus a spectacularly bad
> idea, although one pleasant side effect of having a nice, cold server room
> with a wee bit of extra room for a few fermentation vessels and a stack of
> aging cases on one wall is the possibility of using it as a coolant for
> Beowulf >>operators<<, who have heat loss and power provisioning problems
> of their own.  This efficient re-use of a carefully temperature controlled
> environment that is otherwise too cold for normal humans to spend much time
> in is one that I can heartily approve of.  At some point I may mount a full
> time wall unit that cools the in-garage "shed" of my house so that it can
> serve as a double duty brewery and server room.  We can only hope that,
> properly stimulated, the art and science of beowulfery is lifted to new
> heights by this confluence of benign apparatus.
> Following RGB's suggestions, here is what I have implemented in my garage..
> Cooled air  goes into storage area for wine at roughly 12C, passing
> through to another box roughly at same temperature, but with controlled
> humidity, for curing of sausages, thence exhausts into the general vicinity
> of the server, fiber drop, network switches, and GPS disciplined time
> reference.
> This was evolved from a former, less effective system using the small 4
> cubic foot "bar refrigerator" used to cool beer/ale/whathaveyou along with
> a set of metal tubes bonded to the "freezer" compartment of the bar
> refrigerator that carried coolant pumped around through tubing in the wine
> cooling area.
> Why change from liquid cooling to air cooling?
> 1) pumping losses.. the coolant pump actually puts more heat into the
> liquid than the fan puts into the air.
> 2) corrosion.. even with anti-corrosion additives (chromates and such as
> found in commercial antifreeze), the tubing on the freezer plate corroded
> away.  I tried both copper and aluminum in various forms, and they ALL fail
> eventually.  I do not like having antifreeze on the outside of the beer
> bottles.
> 3) design of liquid to liquid or liquid to air heat exchangers is a black
> art with which I am not skilled.  In fact, even using commercially
> available exchangers (various and sundry heater cores and radiators), it is
> VERY difficult to get predictable performance from the system.
> 4) Too many failure points. For instance, if a critical amount of flow
> doesn't flow through the freezer heat exchanger, the coolant freezes and
> the pump then pumps against a blocked tube, adding heat to the system.
>  (obviously, this was a time when I did not have antifreeze mixed in).
> 5) you still need a fan of some sort to transfer the cold from the chilled
> coolant to the wine bottles.
> I suppose one could go out and get a surplus lab chiller, etc.  invest in
> a few dozen feet of stainless steel tubing and fiittings, etc.
> When one can buy a perfectly good tiny air conditioner at the end of
> summer for around $50, and cobble together some hose and cardboard with
> duct tape, it's just a lot easier.  The smallest A/C is around 6000-8000
> BTU/hr, which is an enormous amount of cooling for what is basically a
> large, warm refrigerator.
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