Electron Microscope Lab Improvements
IMEG provided a vibration and acoustic report for Argonne National Laboratory’s Building 212 electron microscope labs. A study completed by an outside consultant identified the existing chiller and HVAC system serving five electron microscope labs as problematic sources of vibration and noise for the electron microscopes. The levels of vibration and noise in the labs were causing image distortion problems with the electron microscopes. The study recommended replacing the HVAC system and chiller as a measure to improve the performance of the electron microscopes, and this became the scope of work for IMEG.
The vibration and acoustics report was provided as part of the preliminary design. It indicated that simply replacing the chiller and HVAC system would not be sufficient to reduce the noise and vibration in the labs to acceptable levels for the electron microscopes. IMEG conducted additional vibration and acoustical field testing to determine a more effective mechanical system design. The field testing indicated that a significant portion of the vibration and acoustical problems were coming from multiple sources located in other areas of the building. It was also determined that reusing the existing chiller and adding new vibration isolators instead of replacing the chiller would be a more effective solution from a vibration perspective.
Instead of replacing the existing fan coil unit HVAC system with a modern equivalent, it was determined that locating an AHU outside of the building on grade would be a better solution from a vibration and acoustics standpoint. This design reduced the HVAC system contribution to the vibration and acoustics in the lab to acceptable levels. Finally, a CFD model was developed for each lab to ensure that air velocities would not exceed the specifications of the microscopes. IMEG teamed with PTS Data Center Solutions to complete the CFD models of the existing labs with the new HVAC system.