How to apply thermal paste?

Written by | In group | Updated on June 24, 2022

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Thermal paste creates a sort of thermal seal between one or more objects. It is a substance widely used in electronics as a conductor between the surfaces of these objects. The thermal conductivity of a paste of this nature is calculated in watts per meter kelvin , whether it is based on silver, silicone, copper or ceramic. Also, the layer applied must be quite thin and light for better efficiency. Here is, step by step, how to apply thermal paste!

The choice of thermal paste and the necessary equipment

Before any application of thermal paste, it is necessary to choose the type of paste . As already mentioned, the different components present on the market are:

  • silicon 
  • zinc oxide 
  • money 
  • the copper 
  • ceramics

Silicone and zinc oxide are very accessible, but they do not conduct heat efficiently. They are the complete opposite of silver -based or ceramic -based thermal paste . If you can’t get it, try to get some from your computer during a possible overlock.

About the accessories, it is not recommended to use a spatula, your fingers or a credit card, as recommended by many tutorials. Only to remove this substance from a heatsink or component, you can use a cotton swab to dip in isopropanol or ether.

The actual application of thermal paste

It begins with the cleaning of the surface on which the paste is going to be placed. Use the cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol. If you don’t have a cotton swab, a small cotton ball will suffice. Make sure that the percentage of alcohol is high enough: 70% at most and 90% ideally . Now sand said surface to make it softer and more suitable for thermal paste.

Application on a circular surface

Applying thermal paste to a circular surface does not require any special technique. Grab the tube of thermal paste, open it up, and place it in the center of the surface. Squeeze and put in a tiny drop of dough: it should n’t be bigger than a grain of rice . It should be smaller than the size of a pea. If you put more, you might end up with more thermal paste than you actually need. You may even damage the motherboard of the device, if it is a cooler for example.

Once the thermal paste is on the surface, don’t try to spread it . The pressure will take care of doing this evenly over the surface. Still in the case of a cooler, link the radiator and the processor and let the heat act. Also avoid removing the heat sink after it has been installed, or you risk starting the whole process over again.

Application on a square surface

Applying thermal paste to a square surface is much trickier. Indeed, the drop deposited in the middle of the surface will not entirely cover it this time. Three methods are therefore recommended for a better spread of the dough.

The spreading method

This method is the best known and the most effective. Place a tiny amount of paste on the surface. Cover your index finger with a plastic bag and spread the dough evenly. It should barely camouflage the metal. As for the heat sink, it must be installed with a slight angle of approach so that bubbles do not form with the pressure that will be made.

The line method

On the prepared surface, lay two fairly thin lines of thermal paste. They should be spaced apart and parallel. They must also be at a length equivalent to one third of the length of the surface. The rows method is also called the constructors method .

The method of the cross

The method of the cross or alternative method is not very different from the method of the lines. Here, it is rather necessary to make lines crossed in the form of a cross, instead of making straight lines. Some, to make it easier, even prefer to make small dots.

Justin had always been a PC enthusiast long before he realized that there was a lack of online information about PC building. That’s what motivated him to start FWS in 2021 in order to help others build the computer of their dream.

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