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Data Centre Contamination

Data Centre Contamination is the presence of an unwanted constituent, contaminant or impurity in a data centre or server room facility. Contaminants are biological, chemical, physical or radiological substance. A data centres are the low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapours. More accurately, a data centre or server room has a controlled level of contamination that is specified by the number of particles per cubic meter at a specified particle size.

Although a data centre is generally a secure and watertight environment, 80% of dust and dirt is entered into the critical area by feet and penetrates through the gates when technicians enter the room. 5% slips through gaps in the sealing of wiring or piping, and the remaining 15% is carried by the team itself.

Contamination Removal

In order that a proper technical cleaning lasts over time, it is necessary to take additional measures, such as the training of technical staff in clean procedures using data centres (no packaging to enter rooms, protection with vacuum cleaners to make holes, etc.) and the installation of additional active elements such as contamination control tiles.

Sources of Contamination

  • Airborne particulates settling on hardware surfaces during manufacturing, assembling, and testing operations.
  • Paint overspray, insulation shreds, clothing fibres, and other human-induced substances.
  • Trapped particles on internal surfaces of subassemblies and in other hardware crevices. These are released and redispersed from acoustic vibration, transportation, and launch.
  • Reaction control system (RCS) or main propulsion system plume exhaust and flash evaporator water release that may create residual cloud environments.


  • People – Hair, fibre particles from bodies and clothes also poor hygiene
  • Environment – Dust particles, contaminated air, work surfaces, gases, movement ceilings, walls and floors
  • Materials – Microorganisms on packaging, packaging also creates particles, fibres, dust.
  • Equipment – Moving parts shavings drive belts.
  • Buildings – Paint flaking, rusty pipework, poorly maintained surfaces.
  • Water –  Microorganisms grow in water. equipment not cleaned correctly left in a damp condition spills not mopped up properly etc.

Contamination Control Best Practices

Contamination of data centre is controlled through the use of proper design techniques, selection of proper materials, hardware/component precleaning, and maintenance of cleanliness during assembly racking, cabling, cleaning, testing, checkout, transportation, and storage. These practices improve reliability through avoidance of the primary sources of contamination.

Controlling contamination in data centre limits the amount of particulate and molecular contamination which could cause performance degradation.

The desired level of cleanliness, established during the design phase, determines the techniques required to accomplish the desired results. These steps should be documented in a contamination control plan which can be developed by utilizing the following steps:

1. Determine the degree of cleanliness required.
2. Prepare design with optimum materials, configuration, and tolerances to help accomplish the desired cleanliness level.
3. Select and train personnel in contamination control techniques.
4. Select and use the proper materials, equipment, and processes to accomplish the desired end result.
5. Implement contamination budgeting and monitoring throughout each program phase.
6. Plan the product flow to minimize the chance of recontamination after cleaning.
7. Select qualified personnel and equipment to monitor the cleaning processes.

Prested by: Data Centre Cleaning

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