Thermal Grease (also known as thermal paste, goop, or heat conductive putty) is used to fill microscopic gaps between the surfaces of two components such as a CPU and a heat sink. It improves the thermal transfer between them.
This product by Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut offers good thermal conductivity and gap-filling properties. It’s mildly viscous, simple to work with and resists drips and runs so it’s a favorite among system builders.
What is it?
Thermal Grease (also known as thermal paste, thermal grease compound and thermal conductive gel) is a chemical compound that acts as an interface material between a heat sink and a microprocessor or other high-heat electronic components. It fills in microscopic gaps between the surfaces of the two elements and improves the contact area to facilitate heat transfer. It also helps to remove any air bubbles that would act as an insulator and prevent the heat from being dissipated effectively.
A common use for thermal grease is to aid a heat sink in cooling the central processing unit (CPU) in a computer. The CPU is made up of millions of tiny electronic’switches’ jammed together in a core and each time a switch activates it generates a small amount of heat. This can add up quickly, especially for intensive operations like computer gaming or when overclocking a CPU. The thermal paste helps to conduct this heat away from the processor and to the cooler, prolonging its life and helping to avoid any overheating issues.
Most thermal greases are composed of a silicone oil base compound mixed with other thermally conductive additives. They can either be electrically conductive or non-conductive depending on their dielectric properties. They are typically diluted with solvents to help reduce the viscosity for easier application and to reduce the risk of “pump out” or contamination from air bubbles.
The best thermal greases for most applications have excellent thermal conductivity, low viscosity, good temperature stability and wide working temperature range. They are also resistant to moisture and chemicals that can damage other electronic components.
Depending on the application and environmental conditions, thermal greases may need to be reapplied periodically. This can be done by cleaning the surface of the component with isopropyl alcohol wipes then using a business card to spread a thin layer of thermal grease across the metal portion of the processor.
Unlike silicone thermal paste, non-conductive pastes do not conduct electricity. This prevents unwanted current from traveling across the surface of your CPU or other delicate electronic components, which could lead to malfunctions or long-term damage. Non-conductive thermal pastes typically consist of ceramic or silicon-based compounds that do not conduct heat.
Despite not conducting electricity, most non-conductive thermal greases are still effective at increasing the transfer of heat between your computer’s processor and its cooling system. They do this by filling any microscopic gaps between the two surfaces. This prevents the formation of air bubbles, which have low thermal conductivity and would otherwise hinder heat transfer.
When choosing a non-conductive thermal paste, you should be aware of the product’s thermal conductivity rating. A higher rating means that the paste is more efficient at conducting heat between the two surfaces. This can result in your computer running cooler and more efficiently.
Some non-conductive thermal pastes have a higher viscosity, which makes them easier to apply and spread evenly over your CPU or other component. The higher viscosity also helps the paste stay in place after it is applied, so it does not smear or disperse.
Other important qualities to look for in a non-conductive thermal paste include its working temperature range, chemical resistance, and pump-out or outgassing characteristics. You may want to check the product’s technical specifications or safety data sheets for more details about these properties. You can also contact the manufacturer to ask for more information about a specific thermal grease. Generally, the best thermal grease will have an adequate viscosity and temperature range for your application. It will not dry out or lose its thermal conductivity over time, so it will not need to be reapplied as frequently as silicone-based products.