Different Types of Thermal Compounds
(Thermal Components Nature)
The electronic devices getting all heated up is a common phenomenon in the world of tech.
There are enough numbers of switches on a component today for carrying out multiple functions simultaneously that release heat at every turn on or off.
The continuous workload on Computer machines leads to a major heat stock and drastically slows down the performance.
Important Read: How to fix computer freezes and improve performance!
Therefore, the thermal compound is applied while building components and is mainly a heat conductive chemical substance that is used as an interface agent between two surfaces like heat sinks and heat sources, for instance; processors and high-power semiconductor devices.
It ensures smoother heat conduction by avoiding the interface junction any micro spaces or airgaps that occur naturally when two metal surfaces come in contact together by a pressing activity against each other so that the heat transfer, as well as the process of dissipation, is sufficiently augmented.
The thermal compound is also known as thermal grease, thermal paste, heat sink jelly, heat sink compound, thermal gunk, heat sink compound, thermo-paste, etc.
While the heat conduction is the activity that transfers the heat away right from a component of a semiconductor device that at first place is generating the heat, and thus, air gaps (where air is a poor heat conductor) lessen this capacity of heat skins to absorb heat from the processor and this is exactly where the role of thermal compounds becomes this significant.
It is also to note that these compounds are no adhesives but are designed to simply expand in order to fulfill airgaps.
Thermal Compound in Computers
When talked about in regard to PCs, the purpose of thermal compounds arises when heat sinks are installed in the CPU or any other computer component.
Heat sinks are those parts that are fixed with a fan in order to transfer heat from a solid medium for cooling it down.
In this way, they prevent PCs from wearing out of heating in case of over usage or gaming.
In PCs, thermal compounds are applied before the heat sink is attached.
Most of the time, the heat sinks come attached to CPU Cooler, which then installs above the processor after applying the thermal compound.
Since, the heat prevention capacity of heat skins is lessened by microscopic air gaps caused by mini imperfections on unsmoothed surfaces, after the compound’s application, better heat conduction is resulted, complemented with the smoothed surfaces of CPU processing at higher speeds with more efficient performances by the system.
Even the RAM modules and certain built-in chipsets are benefitted by the phenomenon this way.
One pea-size dot of thermal compounds is thus enough for doing such technical miracles to the devices.
Thermal Compounds based on!
Now after it is stated how important in the technical world the thermal compounds are, let’s take a quick glance over their varying sorts including what type is ideal for your case regarding your needs.
Especially, the significance of thermal compounds is super magnified when CPUs are being used for gaming cause the workload on the component is at the highest meanwhile.
Thermal pastes are categorized in different types depending on their composition, viscosity, cooling capacities and most necessarily, the conductivity. The proportions of the thermally conductive elements that it contains modify the compound textures as well.
Generally, these are broadly classified into electrically conductive and non-conductive thermal compounds, while specifically, their most known typicality revolves around metal-based, ceramic-based and carbon-based greases or pastes.
Electrically conductive ones must be handled with excessive care otherwise they may easily channelize electric shocks to your device by proliferating onto wrong, sensitive electric areas.
However, those constituting gold, silver, and copper are highly regarded as when life longevity of the device is anticipated, that absolutely always is.
These substances ensure the heat transfer rate at a much faster pace, thus, maximizing the efficiency otherwise you may get yourself ready for bidding goodbye to your CPU due to poor heat management.
Discussed below are few of the types, that may make up your mind relating the best pick for your recently worn out PC CPU or a beloved game console.
Metal-based thermal pastes go very handy when considered in case of game consoles that are easily heated up.
That reason is due to the fact that the compound contains silver and aluminum dominantly that are primely favorable heat-conducting metals.
Sometimes, these are additionally combined with quantities of metal-based ceramic pastes so that a check is kept upon the temperature fluctuations.
Though here also lies a disadvantaging point, that is, metal-based compounds are also electrically conductive that may end up causing serious electric shock-related problems by disturbing the limits of the surrounding electrical pathways of circuit boards, electric pins, and the likes.
Ceramic-based compounds second the metal-based ones with a minimal difference in performance. They are also not electrically conductive that becomes a plus point.
Primely, they are advantageous for CPUs that are easily heated due to the performance of several many functions at the same time. Indubitably, heat conduction is there but gradual.
When judged in terms of prices, the ceramic containing compounds are also very affordable. If you are a newbie, you can practice through this safest tool of measure.
Carbon-based and Diamond Carbon Paste
As the name suggests, this type of compound constitutes small carbon fibers that become the cause of its efficiency like none other of its likes. Non-conductivity ensures the safest measures, also the viscosity is reasonable enough.
Both factors make it a protected procedure, especially if you are a beginner and getting your hands into the dirty work yourself.
Some thermal compounds, besides carbon fibers, are often found containing diamond powder, too. This quite changes their composition since the outcomes of the presence of such an element make it a rich compound giving it thermally conductive characteristics that ease the heat transportation away.
The diamond powder constitutes tiniest, microscopic diamond particles that do not scratch the sphere but are enough for filling all the potential gaps within. Those featuring diamond powder are amply expensive.
Liquid Metal-based Thermal Paste
Although pretty costly, but this type of thermal compound is worth spending a good amount when coming to terms of caring for your PC like a baby.
Containing rare kinds of metal alloys in liquid form, this type ensures not only smooth but fast pace running of components where they are applied to as well since it transfers heat away eight times quicker than any other of its likes.
Both game consoles and PCs can be benefitted from their applications.
The liquid compounds at the same time are also capable of destroying your whole interface if not restricted to the applied area only.
So, to suffice, liquid metal-based thermal compounds are a tool of hardware geeks only.
What is available in the Market Today?
There are several thermal compounds available in the market today with diversified ranges of performances as well as prices.
Important Read: Best Thermal compounds available in the market in 2020!
Some are easily applicable while others demand extra careful handling.
They also differ in texture as thick or thin. Temperature fluctuations are another factor since thermal compounds have hasty or slow heat conductivities according to their constituting chemical ingredients.
Some compounds leave ugly marks onto surfaces while others do not.
Similarly, the prices contradict.
One must be aware of his/her own gadget requirements first and do sufficient market research aforehand.
After finally getting hands-on a thermal compound purchase, must also religiously follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come along the package.
After all, it’s the matter of your always supportive PCs or game consoles, it’s time to pay them back by making the best choice!
- Stone, Dan. “What Is Thermal Compound for in a PC?” Small Business – Chron.com, http://smallbusiness.chron.com/thermal-compound-pc-67419.html. Accessed 23 December 2019.
- Lumb, D (2018). Does the kind of thermal paste you use matter? Retrieved from https://www.pcgamer.com/does-the-kind-of-thermal-paste-you-use-matter/
- Bill, W (2019). Thermal Paste Types: Does it Matter? Retrieved from https://appuals.com/thermal-paste-types-does-it-matter/. Accessed 23 December 2019.
- Padella, J. (2018). Thermal Grease, Paste, and Pads – Know the Difference. Available at: https://www.wepc.com/tips/thermal-grease-paste-pads-difference/
Muhammad Ahsan Hameed is a 2-time DGA Winner, which is one of the top gaming events in Pakistan. He is also one of the top-300 South East Asia “DOTA 2” players and included in the top 5 players of Pakistan. Read More