Telephone companies utilize densely packed electronics in outdoor metal cabinets for routing calls between customers. As a result of the increasing power densities of electronics, companies are looking for innovative methods of providing system level cooling such as using soil heat exchangers. Numerical simulation using a system of lumped thermal capacitances coupled to a soil finite element model is used to predict the transient thermal behavior of a cabinet. The cabinet model has been verified in previous studies by comparison with experimental measurements on a commercial telecommunications cabinet and is shown to predict temperature trends well. The effects of transient heat load, soil properties, and heat exchanger geometry are examined. Results reveal soil heat exchangers have the capability to provide the necessary cooling for relatively low power outdoor cabinets. However, the temperature of the soil surrounding the heat exchanger may increase daily if the number and spacing of pipes is not adequate to handle the desired heat dissipation load.

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