Operators invest a lot of time and money in their data centers. Living in the digital age where technology is essential for our daily lives, they are a necessity. The more money operators invest, the better the technology and the better the results, right? It only makes sense, then, to take proper care of these facilities and work to ensure that they remain in excellent condition. One of the best ways to do this is by considering what kind of outside resources and/or protective actions will ensure that they remain up and running and protected, as much as possible. Data center operators should consider using FEP fluoropolymer wire and cable, if they aren’t already. Fluoropolymers can help protect servers and wiring, thereby protecting the investment. Here’s how.
Fluoropolymer cable will protect your data from stray and unexpected current surges. Running a data center requires protecting it against unexpected electrical surges/static electricity and making sure everything is protected from corrosion. Fluoropolymer jacketing over wire or cable does exactly this because of its high dielectric strength (average 53kV/mm), very high breakdown voltage (7kV across a 50-micron film), and a long use life. FEP fluoropolymer is a material of choice in data center wiring. Besides directly jacketing the primary wire, it is also applied in the form of heat-shrink tubing as an “over-jacket” that covers existing or new wiring.
FEP cable should not only be considered for use in cable assemblies, but as high-voltage hook-up wire in encapsulated high-voltage power supplies. Tubing of this material is produced by extrusion and is relatively low in cost, which means you get the critical protection you’re looking for without the high costs. Your equipment (server hardware and cabinetry) is therefore protected by the integrity of FEP cable in the presence of a strong electrical current surge. Cracking of the cable jacket owing to a power surge and consequent thermal spike is avoided. This characteristic protects your wires and anything else covered in FEP fluoropolymer from unexpected currents that could fry them and your server’s hardware. The exceptional dielectric strength of FEP tubing ensures you will be protected from such an occurrence.
Protection From Heat
Fluoropolymer products such as FEP, PFA and PTFE are able to withstand constant high temperatures for a long time with little or no structural degradation. This remarkable property derives from the uniquely close shielding of the polymer backbone by the fluorine atoms in FEP. In a data center, heat dissipation is always an issue, which is why nearly all such facilities require cooling infrastructure. But the wires running between server racks and throughout the server room can be exposed to constant high temperatures. Prolonged exposure to high heat degrades and cracks the protective plastic covering of wiring over time. Such microcracks expose the bare wire, potentially resulting in signal loss. Additionally, it produces an electrical “short” pathway for flow of electricity from the wire, causing a more serious issue. This scenario creates a real fire hazard. FEP is an excellent “firewall” between the power line and your equipment. FEP tubing can withstand temperatures of up to 450°F (about 230°C), thus giving you an excellent measure of protection in the server room regardless of how much cooling you supply.
Fluoropolymers Are Hydrophobic
This means that neither water nor water-containing substances can wet FEP or PTFE tubing. This owes directly to the well known “non-stick” property of fluoropolymers. Although water isn’t something you need to regularly worry about in a data center, it’s still a situation you need to protect against. Common concerns are air conditioners with clogged drain pipes that leak in the server room as well as pipes that rupture inside the building. While flooding may be rare, it’s a real threat, especially if you are located near a river, ocean or another large body of water.
Fluoropolymers Are Long Lasting
Fluoropolymers are long lasting and stand up to corrosion better than most known materials. The technical name, polytetrafluoroethylene, explains that a unit of this synthetic polymer comprises two carbon and four fluorine atoms. Their geometrical structure makes them resistant to nearly everything except a few molten alkali metals and fluorinating agents. What this means for your data center is you won’t have to replace the wires anytime soon, and they will protect against virtually any unexpected incident that might happen in the server room. This investment will save a company in the long term since the need to replace wiring or equipment won’t result from thermal wear and tear or damage resulting from a power surge, water or chemicals.
They Are Widely Used in the Most Advanced Industries
The unique attributes of fluoropolymers have made them one of the most widely used products across a broad class of applications ranging from cookware to aerospace. They serve in numerous proprietary projects for the government, as well as in the medical, chemical, steel, environmental, commercial-housing and energy industries. Owing to their chemical makeup, fluoropolymers are self-lubricating and cause very little friction. They are able to maintain this property at cryogenic temperatures of –450.67°F (–268.15°C) and as high as 620°F (327°C). Fluoropolymers can thus serve in sliding-action parts, like gears, plane bearings and more. They are being used for projects at NASA and companies that are breaking into the space industry.
New uses for fluoropolymers continue to crop up. High-temperature tolerance, extremely low friction, near universal corrosion resistance, excellent dielectric and voltage breakdown, unbeatable cryogenic behavior and high purity—all of these features stem from one unique chemical structure, making fluoropolymers one of the most remarkable inventions to date. The developing use of these materials in new energy technologies makes then an important contributor to environmentally sustainable products of the future.
About the Author
Sherry Dawson is an IT analyst. In her spare time, she is a freelance blogger, constantly spreading her knowledge of the IT sector. When she’s not doing that, Sherry enjoys doing yoga and cooking for her family and friends.