Thermal paste is a widely used material and even though we may not use it often ourselves, it is an irreplaceable part of many electronic devices.
Those who have to deal with electronics may wonder: does thermal paste expire?
This and other questions will be answered below.
What Is Thermal Paste and Where It Is Used
Of course, very few of us know what thermal paste is and how one can use it simply because we actually don’t have to deal with it in our daily life.
Nevertheless, those who work with electronics, know very well that this joint is an essential element in many devices because it conducts the thermal energy and insulates electricity at the same time which makes thermal paste a perfect interface for the heat sinks, for example.
Where does thermal paste usually go?
Well, mostly it is used for liquidating the air gaps from around the interface area. Like that, it contributes to making the heat transfer maximal and allows it to disperse much better.
As for its contents, a regular thermal paste is normally made of a liquid polymerizable matrix and the fractions of a special filler that conducts the heat and isolates the electricity.
How Long Is Thermal Paste Good For?
Usually, you could think that it may be enough to simply read the label and learn how and where to store the thermal compound, and how long the thermal paste lasts. On the other hand, there are several specific features and nuances that are important to know if you want to keep the paste usable to its longest.
And of course, proper storage conditions will make the substance safer for the people around it.
How soon will thermal paste expire?
It depends on what it consists of but normally an average thermal paste must remain usable for approximately two years, of course, if you keep it under the correct conditions mentioned on the label.
How long does thermal paste last in a tube?
If being unopened, a thermal paste can stay available for using it for no less than two years. Anyway, you’d better check the expiration date on its tube.
How to Store Thermal Paste Correctly?
Of course, if you don’t have to deal with this substance, you probably don’t know what conditions are the most optimal for storing such kind of compound.
So, for being more informed in advance, check out these tips that will help you not to mess up with this product.
Want the thermal paste to last to its longest? Find a cool place that is away from the sunlight and keep the tube there with the cap being tightly screwed on.
- Find a sealed tank to put the tube in it
- Keep the paste on its side all the time
It is fine to keep the open tube as long as you ensure it is closed properly and tightly and is being stored in a cool place far from the daylight and direct sun rays and heat.
Have you ever wondered whether thermal paste can be used if it is old?
Well, then we can cheer you up if we say that it is absolutely fine to use the compound even if its expiry date has passed.
You may though find that the texture of it is a bit changed and some of the transparent liquid comes out of the tube when you squeeze it, but it is normal.
Simply delete all the discolored substance until the paste appears itself and then use it as usual.
Can Thermal Paste Go Bad?
Normally, this compound can last for years depending on the ingredients that were used for making it though.
Anyway, a question often comes up asking: does thermal paste go bad?
In fact, if you store it under the wrong conditions, it may get ruined and become useless because the paste will lose all of its qualities.
How to tell if thermal paste is bad?
Actually, it’s more about getting old than bad but if you see the compound is too solid or, on the contrary, too liquid, then it has not been used for a very very long time for sure!
Frequently Asked Questions You Might Want to Ask
In addition to all that was said above, here are several FAQs that may be useful for you.
Does arctic silver expire?
Even though it has an expiry date on the label, it can be used even after the “good until” date has passed. Of course, if it was stored under the correct conditions.
Does the thermal compound expire?
Thermal paste can go old indeed but it doesn’t mean that it will lose its qualities unless you keep it in the wrong place and under the wrong conditions.
Does thermal paste expire in a tube?
If you keep it properly, no matter in what container, it must only be the one it was sold in, the paste will serve you even after its expiry date has passed.
What is the arctic silver 5 paste shelf life?
Usually, it is about two years but the manufacturers of this paste allow us to use it even if it’s old.
Where should the thermal paste go after it expires?
Nowhere. Just keep it in the cool place away from the direct sunshine and heat, and everything will be ok.
These tips and life hacks are not a big deal to memorize and use but they will significantly ease your life whenever you will have to work with the thermal paste at home or at work.
Simply follow the producers’ storage instructions mentioned on the label and keep your thermal compound in a proper and safe place away from little children and pets to prevent any unpleasant accidents.
How to Recognize Dry Or Expired Thermal Paste?
If you want your thermal paste to work properly, you must be sure it is in good condition. To do that, you should know how to check the thermal paste, especially if it has been stored for a long time unsealed.
You need to spread a small amount of thermal paste on a metal surface. Then, take a closer look and see how consistent and smooth it is. If the thermal paste has watery or separated consistency, if it is dry or flaky, it means it has expired. However, if it comes out smooth and consistent, it is good to use.
When Should You Reapply Thermal Paste?
Thermal paste is an essential component of any laptop or PC since it allows your device to work properly and function longer. However, those who are not knowledgeable about computers often wonder how often this substance should be reapplied to maintain the efficiency of the device.
In most cases, there is no need to reapply thermal paste more than once every few years. However, you should replace your paste if you remove your cooler for any reason. You may also want to reapply thermal paste if you find your CPU temperatures are rising.
Now you know more about the thermal paste and the nuances of its use. You learned how often you should reapply it to maintain your PC or laptop in a decent condition. Also, we explained how to define whether your thermal paste is expired or not.
You also know how to store it correctly and how long it typically lasts. With all that in mind, using it should not be a problem even if you are new to such technical subjects.