Extrusion is a process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. A material is pushed or drawn through a die of the desired cross-section. The two main advantages of this process over other manufacturing processes is its ability to create very complex cross-sections and work materials that are brittle, because the material only encounters compressive and shear stresses. It also forms finished parts with an excellent surface finish
Extrusion may be continuous (theoretically producing indefinitely long material) or semi-continuous (producing many pieces). The extrusion process can be done with the material hot or cold.
Commonly extruded materials include metals, polymers, ceramics, and foodstuffs.
In 1797, Joseph Bramah patented the first extrusion process for making lead pipe. It involved preheating the metal and then forcing it through a die via a hand driven plunger. The process wasn't developed until 1820 when Thomas Burr constructed the first hydraulic powered press. At this time the process was called squirting. In 1894, Alexander Dick expanded the extrusion process to copper and brass alloys.