Realistic compressor maps are the key to high quality gas turbine performance calculations. When modeling the performance of an existing engine then these maps are usually not known and must be approximated by adapting maps from literature to either measured data or to other available information. There are many publications describing map adaptation processes, simple ones and more sophisticated physically based scaling rules. There are also reports about using statistics, genetic algorithms, neural networks and even morphing techniques for re-engineering compressor maps. This type of methods does not consider the laws of physics and consequently the generated maps are valid at best in the region in which they have been calibrated. This region is frequently very narrow, especially in case of gas generator compressors which run in steady state always on a single operating line. This paper describes which physical phenomena influence the shape of speed and efficiency lines in compressor maps. For machines operating at comparatively low speeds (so that the flow into each stage is subsonic), there is usually considerable range between choke and stall corrected flow. As the speed of the machine is increased the range narrows. For high-speed stages with supersonic relative flow into the rotor the efficiency maximum is where the speed line turns over from vertical to lower than maximum corrected flow. At this operating condition the shock is about to detach from the leading edge of the blades. The flow at a certain speed can also be limited by choking in the compressor exit guide vanes. For high pressure ratio single stage centrifugal compressors this is a normal case, but it can also happen with low pressure ratio multistage boosters of turbofan engines, for example. If the compressor chokes at the exit, then the specific work remains constant along the speed line while the overall pressure ratio varies and that generates a very specific shape of the efficiency contour lines in the map. Also in other parts of the map, the efficiency varies along speed lines in a systematic manner. Peculiar shapes of specific work and corrected torque lines can reveal physically impossibilities that are difficult to see in the standard compressor map pictures. Compressor maps generated without considering the inherent physical phenomena can easily result in misleading performance calculations if used at operating conditions outside of the region where they have been calibrated. Whatever map adaptation method is used: the maps created in such a way should be checked thoroughly for violations of the underlying laws of compressor physics.

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