Excessive particulate contamination (dust) is a cause for concern, primarily because it can restrict air flow and reduce cooling. Our experts examine your data centre for airborne particulate contamination, and measure and quantify particles according to the ISO Standard 14644-1. This Standard provides benchmark classification of contamination levels.  In the vast majority of cases, the contamination comprises a benign mixture of dust and fibres, which can be easily controlled by good filtration and a cleaning regime.


RITEL specialists simultaneously examine, and where necessary, sample and analyse, for airborne contaminants that have potentially damaging chemical or physical properties which can cause data centre equipment breakdowns. In data centres susceptible to salt-laden breezes, for example, we have found crystalline compounds, which, when the humidity/temperature conditions reach a particular threshold, form an electrically conductive and corrosive film across card surfaces. Other sources of damaging contamination include print room toners, diesel fumes and zinc whiskers. As with most things in a data centre environment, it is a combination of factors (in this case, airflow, moisture, component materials) that conspire to cause breakdowns.       

Our contamination experts uses electron and X-ray emission microscopy and high powered optical imagery, along with, good, old-fashioned chemistry, to determine the chemical nature of the contamination. Such analyses can tell us if there is cause for concern and help pinpoint the source of the contamination.  If contamination is discovered, Reliable IT Environment technicians can remove it safely and with no downtime.  We can also remove contamination from inside racks and from within computers themselves.

Particulate measurement can be performed on its own, as part of a clinical clean, as part of a hand-over report, or, as part of an environmental audit.

Contamination Analysis

Solving clients’ problems

Sound-deadening foam was degrading rapidly, becoming brittle and shedding particles, and no longer fit for purpose.  A site visit identified the problem as excessive ozone concentrations and traced the source to electrostatic dust precipitators. These were overloaded by high levels of particulate contamination due to poor primary filtration. The ozone in turn reacted with the polymers in the sound-deadening foam, converting the top layer of a normally spongy, resilient foam, into a brittle, dusty surface.   If left unresolved, the same degradation reaction would have caused reliability problems within servers by degrading insulation polymers used in their construction, for example wire sleeves.

Excessive ozone levels caused polymer degradation in sound-deadening foam


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Sometimes just counting the number of airborne particles in your data centre isn’t enough

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Salt in a data centre

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