In data center hot aisle containment, a baffle is anything that disturbs the flow of air through a room, rack or system. A baffle changes the course of airflow or re-directs it. Any device that directs airflow to another location to keep heated parts cooler can be considered a baffle.
Baffles force air flows into front-to-back patterns most commonly used in the data center. Baffles also send cooled air to the airflow panels in the cold aisle and minimize airflow corridors in the raised floor.
Angled baffles improve efficiency by decreasing the amount of hot spots and averting hot air recirculation when collecting cold air. With hot-aisle containment, vertical baffles direct exhaust air back to the air conditioners and decrease hot air from recirculating cold air.
Baffles can be the raised floor's perforated floor panels where cold air is pushed into the raised servers or the louvers and adjustable vent openings that air is directing in or out. For example, the metal registers covering the floor openings of your home's hot air heating systems are baffles. The white plastic coverings in your offices ceiling where the air conditioning pours out are baffles.