Almost every computer owner knows that CPU heat sink paste is a necessary component of the system. It helps the microprocessor to transfer heat to the metal heat sink, so that it can be dissipated into the air. However, not everyone understands what exactly is it for and how to use it correctly.
The main function of the CPU thermal paste is to build a thermal bridge between the CPU and the heat sink. This is needed to ensure a minimum of resistance between the two surfaces. Inevitably the contact surface of the heat sink and the CPU is not completely smooth – there are microscopic scratches and imperfections that make it hard for the heat to pass through. This is because the space between the surfaces is filled with air, which is a poor conductor of heat. The job of the thermal paste is to fill that space with a liquid that is better at conducting heat than air.
There are many different types of thermal paste on the market, each with its own characteristics. In general, they are made of a base matrix and a filler that makes it easier to apply and allows the paste to form a thin layer between the heat sink and the CPU. The filler can be made of various materials including epoxies, silicones, and urethanes. It can also be metallic, such as aluminium oxide or copper.
The thermal pastes have a range of properties, such as their ability to fill gaps, conduct heat, and remain stable for thousands of hours without drying out or forming cracks. The best one for you will depend on the type of system you are using it for and on your preference of material, ease of application, and price.