Thermal paste is widely used in electronics, performs an important function, providing improved heat transfer to the PC cooling system. It helps the processor case warms up evenly, without sharp temperature jumps. Which in turn increases the system speed and the wear resistance of PC elements. When buying thermal paste, nowadays one of the big questions among people is: does thermal paste expire.
It’s very important for us to be sure of its quality and storage time/duration in the manufacturer’s packaging. After the purchase, it’s quite important to know how and where to store thermal paste so that it lasts longer.
Does thermal paste expire? Thermal paste shelf life
Any thermal paste has a certain shelf life during use and in sealed form. When this time is up, the quality of the thermal paste may not meet the standards.
It can dry out and lose thermal conductivity therefore, its further use may become impossible. If you try to use petrified thermal paste, then this will not lead to anything good. Not only the processor can fail, but also the video card, power supply too.
What affects the expiration date?
If you ensure complete tightness of the container, under identical conditions, the expiration date of the thermal paste in the tube and syringe will be the same. The same rule applies to containers that are printed and closed in the factory.
The shelf life of the thermal paste in the syringe (tube) is from 2 to 8 years. Exact dates depend on her brand. The packaging does not affect storage time. This indicator is more dependent on the quality of the product, its components and the tightness of the container in which it is located.
High-quality thermal paste retains its original parameters not only during storage, but also later, when it is applied to the heat-generating components of PC boards.
How and where to properly store thermal paste at home?
How and where to store the thermal paste in a syringe is one of the frequently asked questions of PC owners. Let’s try to answer them.
Perhaps the basic rule for storing such formulations is their complete isolation from the external environment. Interaction with air, strong heating, the influence of sunlight – all this adversely affects the shelf life of the thermal paste.
The optimal storage conditions for thermal paste are a hermetically sealed container, the absence of light, room temperature.
After each use of the composition, the tube (syringe) must be sealed as tight as possible so that its contents do not come in contact with air.
These simple conditions will allow you to store thermal paste after opening the container as much time as in sealed form.
Subject to storage standards, a product containing zinc or silver retains thermal conductivity for a very long time, sometimes more than 10 years.
How to understand that the paste has deteriorated
Despite the fact that the expiration dates of the thermal paste specified by the manufacturer have already expired, it can still be used for its intended purpose. To determine by eye the state of thermal conductivity of the composition, of course, will not work. But a lot can be said about its texture.
External signs of unsuitable thermal paste:
- drying of the composition;
- stratification of the paste into components with different degrees of density (liquid and suspension);
- a change in structure to loose or lumpy;
- thickening, discoloration and other visible indicators.
But you can not be completely sure that the composition is not suitable for further use. Even after delamination, the paste can sometimes be returned to its original state by thorough mixing.
Can expired thermal paste be used?
Thermal paste is a plastic substance necessary for the correct operation of a computer. If the processor began to heat up more than usual, the composition should be replaced with a fresh one.
Previously, the board is cleaned of the remnants of old paste. Experts advise replacing the thermal paste with a fresh one on a regular basis, every 2 years.
After the expiration date of the thermal paste has expired, it will not be able to fully fulfill the tasks assigned to it due to a partial loss of thermal conductivity. This can lead to sad consequences for the computer: the failure of many of its components. A particularly difficult situation will be with a laptop, which may need to replace the entire main board (motherboard).
Thermal paste replacement should be entrusted to a specialist, which is associated with certain costs. But in any case, it will cost much less than buying a new laptop or the main components of a stationary PC. Therefore, it makes no sense to use damaged thermal paste. Such savings result in large losses.
Those who are engaged in the replacement of thermal paste on their own should choose it based on the indicated storage periods. Then one tube is enough for several years of use, given the small one-time consumption of this composition.
Finally, we hope now you have the answer to your question: does thermal paste expire? Also, please don’t hesitate to write comments and opinions below. Until the next time!
Marziano is a seasoned tech expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and multiple certifications, including CompTIA A+, Network+, and Cisco’s CCNA, he has a well-rounded and robust understanding of various aspects of technology.