Thermal Interface Material (TIM)
What is thermal interface material (TIM)?
The purpose of thermal interface materials (or TIMs) is to aid thermal conduction between two mated materials such as a semiconductor and heat sink.
Despite how smooth two solid surfaces may appear, there will always be some small imperfections leading to poorer thermal conductivity. Greases are one popular choice for TIMs due to their ability to flow for easier application.
What are the best Apiezon products to use as thermal interface material?
Manufactured by M&I Materials Ltd, Apiezon hydrocarbon greases have an inherent resistance to creep meaning they stay where they are put (see our hydrocarbon vs silicone white paper), as well as excellent heat transfer properties. These properties are ideal for TIMs where heat is needed to be rapidly transferred away.
This is particularly important in electrical equipment, and these greases also happen to have high electrical resistivity. If you’re looking for a heat transfer grease for electrical equipment then Apiezon hydrocarbon greases are an excellent choice.
Apiezon N grease in particular is used by researchers worldwide for mounting samples inside cryostats. With its ability to resist crazing (the formation of microcracks) at low temperatures, it has been used at temperatures as low as 1.6K (see Apiezon specialised hydrocarbon-based grease for cryogenic applications) but this isn’t the only grease in our range which can be used as a TIM.
As well as all these inherent benefits of being a hydrocarbon grease, Apiezon H grease does not melt at high temperatures. With its thermal conductivity at 20°C of 0.216 W/m °C, for many applications Apiezon H grease is the first choice heat transfer grease.
Apiezon grease used as thermal interface material FAQs
Q: Which Apiezon grease do I use as thermal interface material (TIM)?
A: That depends! Our hydrocarbon range is the first point of call for heat transfer applications. The basic properties (including thermal conductivity) of all the greases in this range can be found here.
The other big consideration is temperature – are you going to be taking the material above 30°C or below 10°C? If so then you need to select one of our specialist greases. This is likely to be Apiezon N grease for cold temperature applications or Apiezon H grease for high temperature. For more help on selecting the right product please contact our technical team.
Q: How do you clean off Apiezon hydrocarbon greases?
A: Wipe off any excess grease with a soft clean lint free cloth. Any residues of grease can be washed away with warm soapy water or by using any aromatic hydrocarbon solvent (toluene, xylene). For a more environmentally friendly solvent, we recommend limonene. They cannot be cleaned using alcohols (ethanol, IPA) or ketones (acetone, MEK).
Q: Are Apiezon products silicone-free?
A: Yes, all Apiezon products are totally free of silicone.