Compound Re-Liquefied with Acetone.

Oxidized Copper Sheet

IC Diamond Removal
Recommended Removal Method

Nothing is simpler than removing thermal compound, the only requirement is to follow good shop practice and to let the solvent do the mechanical work to re-liquefy the compound. After allowing the solvent time to work, only simple blotting with a soft paper towel or cotton cloth till the compound is fully dissolved is necessary or recommended. Then a single wipe or two will completely remove even the hardest, most dried out compound.
Picture of the test set up

Application of Compound – Note Process Mark

Disassembled Test
Close up View to Note Prior to the Test Existing Scuffs and Scratches
Removal Complete  with no Evidence of Polishing or Damage
The complete set materials/components used here are

A 150 lb. Digital shipping scale
2 pony spring clamps
1 tube of IC Diamond 24
1 5X5 1.35 mm thick oxidized copper sheet
1 30mm X 3 copper block to model base heat sink contact

Simulated Mount - Pony Clamps Applied  Pressure of 79lbs @ Intel Max

With no polishing  to a 100 to 200 atom thick soft copper oxide  coating , representing  approximately 1-2 % the thickness of the serial markings of copper, this photo shows that, properly handled, 50 to 100+ installations and removals with no polishing  is easily attainable by just following good shop practices
Example of Safe Compound Removal

For our example on thermal compound removal we modeled the process using an oxidized copper sheet as the IHS and a copper block as sink.
The copper sheet,had oxidized layer with a coating of 100 to 200 angstroms (100 to 200 atoms thick).  With IHS serial markings that have a thickness of just 1 to 2 microns, the copper oxide coating represents approximately 1-2 % the thickness of the serial markings on a copper IHS.
The copper oxide formed on the copper sheet was extremely soft and, as demonstrated at the conclusion, was soft enough to be polished  back to its’ original shine with nothing more abrasive than a finger in less than 3 seconds.

After a detailed study of the instructional  media available on the internet regarding the removal of thermal compound, it became obvious that there exits a lack of understanding of the basic concept on how solvents work. Instead of allowing the applied solvents to dissolve the thermal compound, the user would apply the solvent and then begin to rigorously scrub the surface clean risking damage to serial number lettering.

  Missconceptions regarding diamond hardness --Note see Discussion after end conclusion.

The MOHS scale is a relative scale for comparing material hardness. Hardness catoragizing as defined here is the ability to scratch softer material but not harder a one,  for example; fluorite rated at 4 can scratch copper but will not scratch glass  so places it firmly between the two.

So picture a fluorite knife and a diamond knife identical in shape and sharpness. Now make a single mark on a piece of copper with each at equal pressure. The results are two equivalent marks in width and depth. Now make 5 marks on the copper piece with each and what happens is the fluorite is probably dull at this point while the diamond still retains it's edge.

In the nomenclature of the abrasion trade when they say “diamond cuts better than anything else”  what is really meant is that it lasts longer. In the abrasion literature nearly all specifications relate to movement, RPM, tool feed, heat the particle material can endure under friction etc.  So the assertion that diamond cuts better than anything else in what is essentially a static non cutting application one would be attributing characteristics that do not exist in the physical world.

  Every single popular compound that we are aware of  has some  corundum/ aluminum oxide in their make up even the silver brands with the exception of the liquid metals and the white greases which use talc.  Corundum is one of the toughest materials known,used as armour for miltiary vehicles and is the prime ingredient in most sandpapers and the preferred material for cutting glass. So in effect all thermal compounds being liquid sandpaper in form have the potential of polishing if handled improperly so good shop practices should be observed when using any thermal compound.

As IC Diamond has equivalent particle size to most others on the market no special aura of  uniqueness can be applied to diamonds hardness,  aluminum oxide under simple application and removal is equally abrasive under these light use conditions hence the expanded Guide to Removal here to clear up the misconceptions.

As a final reference note here as most sinks and IHS's are copper which is at the low end of the MOHS hardness scale and just about anything can mark it, for example;  numismatists recommend not to use paper envelopes to store coins as just the occasional removal and replacement can scratch valuable coins. Tissue paper as well contains particles of wood that will leave a mark.

Missconceptions Regarding Diamond Hardness
MOHS Hardness Scale
Most Glass
Steel File

Oxide  Softness Demonstration
Note that the surface is so thin and delicate that nothing more abrasive than a finger can polish it back to it's original shine in under 3 seconds

User Removal Demonstration
  Innovation Cooling, LLC
   Compound Removal