Thermal paste is a chemical compound that is used on hardware interfaces to balance the heat of the material. It is thermally conductive and is used in wedges between heat sources to spread the heat equally to avoid any overheating of the substance. It is generally used in processers for heat transfers and equal dissipation of the same.
Using the thermal paste always seems to be beneficial for the wear and tear resistance it offers to the hardware materials. Maintaining a system in accordance with its speed and flexibility, thermal paste comes in very handy and helpful. However, preserving a thermal paste requires certain protocols so that it sustains its life for a longer period.
Does the thermal paste expire?
Thermal paste expires pretty much like any other edible item. There are many brands of thermal paste like ARCTIC, Noctua, Arctic Silver, or Corsair. Most of the manufacturers give them a life span of 3 to 5 years beyond which the substance is bound to expire.
Nonetheless, if you have preserved the thermal paste in a sealed container at a comparatively safe temperature, it should still be usable and slightly effective even if it’s passed its prime.
Some thermal paste, when not preserved or maintained properly, can go bad and dry making them unfit for application. It will lose the property of thermal conductivity. Applying that in the machines or processors can damage its parts.
How to check whether the paste has expired?
Some thermal paste, like discussed before, even if it has passed its prime, can be of use if it was preserved properly. Some may not qualify for any application at all. To check if the paste has been spoilt, we have to confirm it with our eyes.
The probable indication to know that it has deteriorated.
- The paste as it is squeezed out, will be watery and clumpy.
- It would look dry when applied in matters.
- If it is lumpy.
- Thick and colorless.
If any of the above symptoms seem predominant in the formulation, then it is as well retrained from use for the better.
What is the reason
for the expiry?
More often than not, the quality of the component determines how fast it expires. Sometimes the failure of preserving them or maintaining them according to the protocols it needs, can also damage its effect and shorten its life span.
Although preserving the thermal paste can retain its life for 2 to 8 years, the real-life of the paste depends on its brand. Tightening the container where it is preserved or maintaining it under a good-sealed packet could prolong its life considerably.
When is a thermal paste supposed to be replaced?
The heat sink of the CPU has to be removed once in a while. Every time, you do that, there needs to be a replacement of the thermal paste. Since the layer gets exposed once the air pockets are opened, there is a chance that the thermal paste might get dried up or lose its effect once it is exposed to air.
Sometimes we might open the interface to dust off the heat sink. It is in these cases a replacement of a thermal paste becomes necessary.
How to store the thermal paste?
This is the important part when it comes to the thermal paste. The basic protocol for any such substance to be stored is to keep it possibly away from the external environment, no matter how hot or cold it is.
The sunlight can have a drastic effect on the thermal paste rendering it completely unfit for any usage. This could directly have an impact on the life span of the substance as well.
A sealed container or a pocket is usually the best way to preserve it. It should also be carefully kept aside from any exposure to light.
If you are looking to expand its life span considerably, the below steps might come in handy at best:
- Preserve it in a syringe and twist the cap sufficiently tight and preserve it in a sealed box or pocket.
- Do not remove the seal of the syringe to squeeze out the paste, this may expose the formulation to air.
- Preserve it at a normal room temperature where it is neither too cold nor too hot.
- Seal it in a place where no amount of sunlight is exposed to the formulation.
These ways of preserving the thermal paste can prolong its life for a considerably long time.
Final words – Can expired thermal be useful?
Thermal paste is used for the effective operation of the system. Any slight glitch or damage to the substance could spoil the processor. Heat transfer balance is a needed thing on the CPU and this substance will help in every possible way to avoid any overheating.
Replacement of the paste should be done once every 2 years. If the thermal paste expires, the application of the substance will not be effective as it will lose the necessary thermal conductivity it is supposed to have. Using the expired substance could hamper the CPU and system along with its components.
When maintained and preserved properly, the thermal paste can be put to repetitive use for any number of years.