How Long Does Thermal Paste Last – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 5 years

Thermal paste is often known as CPU grease or thermal grease and heat paste, among other names. This paste is thermally conductive and is commonly used as a boundary between the heat source and heat sinks.

Thermal paste can be applied using a brush, which is the easiest way you can work with it. The paste is often used in the CPU, and it plays a significant role in improving its functionality In this article, we shall be discussing how long does thermal paste last and why.

How long does thermal paste last?

Thermal Paste TypeLifespan
Ceramic-based Paste5 years
Carbon-based Paste5 years
Metal-based Paste5 years
Liquid Metal-based Paste3 years 

Thermal grease is a greasy and sticky compound. When spoilt, the material becomes hard. However, this compound is capable of staying sticky without hardening for several years. Some factors might affect the shelf life of a thermal paste.

Usually, this depends on the solvent used in making the thermal paste. The solvent used will dry over the years, which then makes the paste hard and not safe for use. A good quality thermal paste often has a shelf life of approximately four years.

Why does thermal paste last long?

Thermal paste shelf life is often determined by the compounds used in making the paste. Usually, thermal paste is said to be spoilt when it dry or has harden.

How to use thermal paste?

Thermal paste usually acts as a cooling agent, and it is naturally sticky. The paste helps in preventing CPUs from overheating. Furthermore, when operating with the thermal paste, you will be required to have a caring hand. When you accidentally use it in the wrong way, you might end up losing the entire system.

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You should note that it does not mean there is always a problem with the paste. Often, using thermal grease in a wrong manner might become the leading cause for the system to crash down, and you end up blaming the paste.

Using an old thermal paste can be safe; however, taking extreme precautions is essential. You should squeeze a small out onto a paper and get rid of it.

Usually, the first paste being squeezed out is a clear fluid. You should then continue squeezing till a silver paste comes out. This is the paste you should be using for your CPU. Before using the paste on your CPU, you should read the manual on how to apply thermal paste. You should then start the process slowly to avoid applying too much paste.

How to store your thermal paste?

Thermal paste has a long shelf life; however, some aspects might interfere with its shelf life. Therefore, knowing and avoid such elements is critical in increasing your thermal paste shelf life. Here are some of the things you should consider when storing your paste;

  1. Do not store the paste in a very cold or very hot environment.
  2. You should store it in a sealed plastic bag.
  3. You should consider storing it on its side using an airtight cap.

Conclusion

Thermal paste is essential when it comes to operating our CPU; however, you should always consider the amount you are using to avoid destroying the system.

References

  1. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/327366113.pdf
  2. https://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ddlchung/Thermal%20interface%20materials.pdf