Circuit Board, needs new Pad

Circuit Board, needs new Thermal Pad

My blogs largely originated from the various questions I have gotten from customers over the years. This includes the most popular ones. 

One question I realized I get an awful lot is : “Are Gap Pads Reusable?” Heres my short answer, “It depends, but I wouldn’t ever”. In certain contexts you see below, you might be able to argue the pad is still usable- it’s your application, do what you want. But I wouldn’t. 

Why Not to Reuse Thermal Gap Pads?

  1. I suggest most of my customers get a minimum of 10% compression, and a maximum of 60%, and I’ve seen customers do a heck of a lot more. If you think that the Gap Pad is going to recover from that, good luck to you. I’ve seen pads take a permanent set of 100%, meaning if it’s compressed 30%, that 30% is gone for good. You don’t get any of it back
  2. While most pads don’t dry out- the initial thermal tack with contact actually plays a pivotal role in the thermal transfer of heat. That being said, I’d be concerned that the factory natural tack wears down a little bit, allowing less thermal performance.
  3. Lets say there’s a 95% chance the pad is going to work fine reusing it- You have to ask yourself, this pad is essentially an insurance policy against your electronic device overheating, losing overall life, or worse complete failure- so my thought process is, you bought an insurance policy- its best to keep the premiums current. When something catastophric happens, it wouldn’t be enjoyable to learn its not covered because you didn’t pay the preminums. 

Afternote:

I get a lot of customers asking us to recert thermal pads. Again, some pads would probably be fine, but NO I AM NOT GOING TO RECERT ANYTHING. Don’t ask me to, because its not going happen.  But heres a few things to think about:

  1. Does the liner remove cleanly? Conversely, if a liner is not supposed to be removed, does it offer the same stiffness, or is delaminating? 
  2. Is the thermal performance the same since you bought it? (this includes natural tack, pad stifness/hardness, modulus.

More Information

NEDC die-cuts, knife-cuts, and waterjet-cuts thermal interface pads into custom shapes, and sizes for customers. For more information on Thermal Gap Pad materials, please contact sales@nedc.com.

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