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Thermal Pads

Thermal pads or thermal gap pads are materials that provide a thermal interface between heatsinks (devices or substances for absorbing unwanted or excess heat) and electronic devices. A thermal pad is particularly useful where air gaps, rough surface textures or uneven surface topography prevent the use of traditional grease or paste. Pads are often self adhesive and  less messy and easier to install than thermal paste.

RS Components have an extensive range of products designed for the heating or cooling of electronic devices to help maintain the right temperature in order to work effectively.

How do thermal pads work?

By keeping the internal components of electronic products from wear and tear resulting from high circuit board temperatures, thermal pads help to provide extended longevity. They are also important in providing safety by eliminating the possibility of electrical fires. Thermal pads become soft at high temperatures which means they can fill imperfections in the surface for better conduction qualities and to minimise potential damage to components. They are manufactured in a variety of standard thicknesses and dimensions but can also be custom fabricated to fit various applications.,/p>

Typical Applications

Thermal pads and thermal paste both work in the same way by transferring heat from hot areas of a circuit board into a heatsink. They are often used on the following to provide better heat transfer.

  • Flat panel displays
  • LED (light emitting diode) displays
  • Engine control units
  • Computer hard drives, CPU
  • Wireless communication hardware

Does thermal pad thickness matter?

A greater thickness allows the pad to absorb more deformations in the heatsink surface . However a thicker thermal pad is worse in regarding to heat transfer.

Can you reuse thermal pads?

Unlike thermal paste, thermal pads can be reused so long as the pad is clean and has not been moved, touched, damaged or stretched.

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