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Does chocolate work as thermal paste?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by (*steve*), Mar 14, 2013.

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  1. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    I'm sure this is a question that has been begging for an answer.

    More seriously, how much does it really matter what thermal compound you use?

    Some interesting results are here.

    Unfortunately they fail to quote any information that can be used for determining how various pastes operate in an absolute sense :( The thermal rating for the heatsink would have been nice, as would the actual power dissipated. (sigh)

    However, we do now know that butter is a better option than chocolate!
  2. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    Not to mention mustard, but that makes sense as it is traditionally used on hot dogs.

  3. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    My input is my annoyance with people who fail to electrically isolate the device from
    the heatsink when they re-install a replacement.
    They don't like getting the silicon thermal compound all over their fingers I guess.
    They knew they had a bad device, they just can't understand why the replacement they
    installed blew up.
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    My pet peeve is people who think that if a little heatsink goo is good, a lot must be better.

    This belief is promoted somewhat by the manufacturers of this stuff for CPU and GPU heatsinks. They charge big $$$ for it and recommend you put *way* too much on. (Who could that help, I wonder?)

    I think I still have some of the old beryllium oxide heatsink compound around somewhere. I may have put it in a "safe place" though. Probably best not to get too much of that on your fingers.
  5. donkey


    Feb 26, 2011
    ok then I will have to fix my "air con" before posting it lol.there is heat paste all over that sucker atm.
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    The amount you need is the amount required to fill in the air gap created when you press the two metal surfaces together.

    The trick is to eliminate air bubbles (which will act to force the 2 surfaces apart, destroying the contact between them).

    Simultaneously doing both of these is difficult (AKA almost impossible) but the aim is to get as close as possible to the former without trapping air between the surfaces.

    the "blob in the middle" technique works well for large surfaces, and excess compound actually serves the purpose of sweeping out the trapped air as the component is pushed against the heatsink.

    For very large mated surfaces, with high viscosity paste, the pressure applied per unit of area may be insufficient to press the excess paste out from between the surfaces. Some small circular movement of the device against the heatsink (or the heatsink against the device) can assist this.

    Once you've dome this, if you want to see how well you've done, pull the 2 surfaces apart. The surfaces should be clearly visible through the goo (you should see an even mottled surface, not peaks of goo where the 2 surfaces have been pulled apart.) But now you have to clean it off and start over again, otherwise you'll trap lots of air...

    Oh, and as the article I quoted suggests, use toothpaste or butter, and NOT chocolate! (I suspect the viscosity of chocolate is too high -- as may be the particulate content).
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