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Liquid Metal Thermal Material Destroys Aluminum Heatsink - Liquid Metal Thermal Material Destroys Aluminum Heatsink
Mon Apr 19, 2004 | 10:23P| PermaLink
"Coollaboratory Fl├╝ssigmetall" is a thermal interface material that should not be used with aluminum heatsinks, according to the manufacturer. By that innocuous warning on the product one would assume it causes some minor oxidation over time, or reacts with unanodized aluminum in a minor way that reduces thermal conductivity... Well, according to this report by Nokytech that is a substantial understatement!

(red lines define the dimensions of where the aluminum used to be)

'Dams57000' is a Nokytech forum user who describes his experience with the substance when some overflowed onto the sides of a Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu, coming into contact with the aluminum components of that heatsink. "My friend had spoken to me about a very effective thermal paste which can be bought on Ebay. It's a German product called "Liquid Metal" which is supposed to replace thermal pastes. According to the manufacturer, this product has an excellent thermal conductivity (82 W/mK, instead of 10W/Mk in general). I bought some and decided to apply this product to my Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu LED heatsink.

On my first attempt it was kind of difficult to spread out the molten metal. I tried my utmost but could not get a perfect layer. The liquid metal spread out very easily and overflowed the copper portion of the Zalman heatsink, onto the sides. I went looking for some cotton swabs to try and clean up the surplus. With my return... horror! The two small parts of Aluminum on either side of the copper had turned a black color. I tried to remove the "Liquid Metal" with the cotton swab but could not. The aluminum was completely oxidized... and looking at it more closely I realized then that the Aluminium was "boiling!!!"
Panicing, I took the Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu and ran it under tap water; but it was impossible to stop the chemical reaction which had become very extensive. Believe me or not, the aluminum parts of the Zalman heatsink just disintegrated in the flow of water and went down the drain. It just crumbled in front of my nose!"

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