Machine Design

Paste beats solder for conducting heat

A thermal paste may keep computers and electronics from overheating. The carbon-filled organic paste goes between a heat sink and a heat source and helps heat conduct from the source to the sink.

"The material is superior to all other thermal pastes, including those involving exotic materials such as carbon nanotubes and diamond," says creator Deborah Chung, a materials engineer at the University of Buffalo. "It even significantly surpasses solder, the best material currently available for improving the thermal contact between two surfaces," she adds. The thermal paste is inexpensive to make and can also be used on heat pipes for drawing out geothermal energy and in thermal fluid heaters for reclaiming heat indirectly produced by the heaters.

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