What is thermal grease? Thermal grease, also known as thermal compound grease or thermal gel, is a substance required to produce high temperatures between a heatsink and a central processing unit. These thermal gel pastes are applied to the surfaces, smoothing the curved inconsistencies. As opposed to surfaces with curves present, completely flat surfaces are able to block air flow between the heatsink and processor, which keeps temperatures at the highest possible levels.
When applying thermal gel to surfaces, it’s important that professionals follow an established set of procedures that are designed to give optimal results each and every time. While the application of thermal compound grease is relatively easy, results will be substandard if the process is performed incorrectly.
The following list outlines the steps you should take when working with thermal gel:
- Choose the correct thermal gel. It is important that you choose the thermal compound grease that is appropriate for a satisfactory job. Basic thermal grease compounds, consisting of silicone or zinc, will meet the needs for most. Some jobs, however, will not be successful with basic thermal grease compounds. For processors that require a more effective transmitter of heat, premium thermal grease compounds consisting of materials, such as silver or ceramic, are recommended.
- Clean the surfaces. Both the heatsink and central processing unit should be cleaned prior to application of thermal gel. Using a cotton ball, thoroughly wipe the surfaces with isopropyl alcohol.
- Apply the thermal gel. After choosing the correct thermal gel and cleaning the surfaces, it is now time to place a small drop of thermal grease compound onto the processor. This drop, about the size of a pea, should be spread across the entire surface of the processor using a straight edge razor or by hand in a latex glove.
- Light test. To make sure that you spread the thermal gel across the entire surface of the processor, hold it up to a light. Any light shining through will indicate a spot you missed while applying the thermal compound grease. Apply paste to these areas, and then retest.
The above tips will help you to properly apply thermal compound grease to the surface of a central processing unit. Following application of thermal gel, you must accurately mount the heatsink to the processor. If it is not placed in the correct spot, the system will not work; therefore, you must remove the heatsink and remount it. In order to do this, the entire thermal gel application process, which is listed above, must be completed again.
If you are interested in thermal compound greases that will best mount heatsinks to central processing units, Shin-Etsu MicroSi has the solution. Our dedication to research and development has allowed us to establish a reputation as a world leader in thermal interface material applications. Customers can trust in us to deliver thermal compound greases that provide the results that they have come to expect in today’s high tech semiconductor manufacturing industry. To learn more about our line of thermal grease compounds, please call Shin-Etsu in Phoenix at (480) 893-8898 or contact us online.