Industry dynamic

Thermal pad vs Thermal Grease: How to choose when the thermal conductivity is the same?


Generally speaking, in order to increase the thermal conductivity, customers tend to choose thermally conductive interface materials with a high thermal conductivity. This should be considered in terms of material properties, application objects, usage methods, etc.


Material properties

The two components are different and there are differences in material properties. Different thermally conductive materials are often chosen for specific applications (e.g. vibration damping, insulation, etc.).

Thermal grease: electrical insulation, high thermal conductivity, low oil separation (tends to 0), high and low-temperature resistance, water resistance, ozone resistance, weather resistance old, effective reduction of the interface thermal resistance and other characteristics.


Thermal pad: thermal conductivity, insulation, shock resistance, good temperature resistance, high compression ratio, soft material and surface with micro-viscosity, easy to operate.


Application objects

Thermal grease: a paste-like product with high thermal conductivity, which can effectively reduce the thermal resistance of the contact between the heat source and the radiator. Mainly used in CPU, transistor, thyristor, IGBT module, LED lamp and other heating elements.


Thermal pad: thermal interface material with a certain thickness, compressible, reboundable, self-adhesive on both sides and highly compliant. Mainly used in ICs, transformers, inductors, capacitors, PCB boards and other heat generating components.



For different applications, the use of thermally conductive materials will vary.

Thermal grease

1. First clean the surface of the component and heat sink and then mix the thermally conductive silicone grease well.

2. Afterwards, apply the silicone grease to the surface of the heat sink (or the metal substrate of the component) by dabbing, brushing or silk-screening.

3. If screen printing is used, it is recommended to use a 60-80 mesh nylon screen and a rubber squeegee with a hardness of about 70, and to scrape the silicone grease at about 45 degrees to the coated surface during the application.

4. At the end of the operation, unused product should be stored in a sealed container.


Thermal pad

1. Keep the surface of the component clean and remove the protective film from one side first.

2. Apply the thermal pad to the surface of the component, then remove the other side of the protective film and press the heat sink (or housing) onto the thermal pad to fasten it.


Overall, thermal pad and thermal grease have their own advantages and disadvantages.

When choosing between them, it is necessary to take into account the target application, ease of operation, and material characteristics to make the best choice.


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