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I had spilled a drink onto my laptop keyboard. During disassembly, I found this strange item inside. Looks like a piece of sticky rubber.

What is it? What is the purpose of it?

enter image description here

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Absorbing spilled drinks isn't enough of a function for you? Some people are never happy. – HopelessN00b Apr 22 '14 at 17:34
It looks like a thermal pad. What's under it? – ntoskrnl Apr 22 '14 at 18:49
Might serve to avoid short-circuits by touching whatever is above, help keep the board in place, ... – vonbrand Apr 22 '14 at 21:28
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Its most likely an insulator to protect from an electrical short from the keyboard (or whatever was above/below it).

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It looks a bit too thick for an insulator, so I would say it's a thermal pad.

It's designed to make thermal contact (transfer heat) between what's below it (most likely CPU voltage regulators) and what's above it, which is a metallic part (either a dedicated heatsink or just a big part of the laptop casing) that will dissipate heat.

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This is actually the correct answer. Game consoles have smaller squares of this all over the place. They are always connecting something that generates a lot of heat to some kind of heat spreader. I would not doubt that they could serve both purposes however. – steve Apr 23 '14 at 6:18

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