Many times we forget about it, but it is a fundamental component. The thermal paste is used in any personal computer at present, as well as in many other devices that use any processor.
Today we are going to dedicate a special with everything you need to know about thermal paste. What it is used for, what it is made of and why it is necessary to take care of it and renew it periodically. A vital putty for our computers to stay alive for many years.
What is thermal paste?
The thermal paste is a putty that can be presented in multiple formats, where the most common is a very dense and thick liquid. It usually has a metallic color due to its components, although other variants have a white hue.
The main characteristic of the thermal paste is to offer a high thermal conductivity, reason for its use: it is applied between the upper surface of the processor and the contact surface of the dissipator. Its purpose is to “move” the heat of the first component to the second. Still, also, since we usually talk about metal surfaces, some irregularities are covered by the paste to achieve better contact between both parties.
In short, the purpose of the thermal paste is to serve as a physical intermediary between the processor (usually CPU, but also other chips) and the dissipator, so that the heat generated by the first can move along the thermal paste and get to the second that, through its fans, will send it abroad.
Thermal paste components
Although this section is more a chemical than electronics or hardware, we will give a few small brushstrokes on what is the composition of the thermal paste.
First of all, it is necessary to discriminate between the different types of thermal paste, among which we could say that two of them are the most common: those based on ceramic components and those based on metallic elements.
The first, thermal ceramic pastes, are characterized by having a whitish color. Its composition is based on ceramic powder suspended in a mixture of liquid, usually a kind of silicone. It is a cheap and basic thermal paste that is generally available for sale in stores specializing in electronics. However, I would not recommend its use in computer components because the temperatures that collect the hardware components of a computer are usually exaggeratedly high.