Compared to the subject of rotating stall, less attention has been given to prestall flow disturbances in turbomachinery. This is mostly due to the fact that these phenomena, often referred to as Rotating Instabilities, do not necessarily or distinctly occur in every compressor and usually last for a long period without posing serious threats to stable operation. The present study aims at numerically characterizing prestall disturbances in detail in a compressor stage in which they have been experimentally observed. Full-annulus CFD computations employing a hybrid scale-resolving turbulence model are performed and compared against unsteady experimental data. Assessment of specific prestall disturbance metrics, including power spectral density, coherence and circumferential mode distribution at the rotor clearance, show that the numerical model is successful in reproducing the unsteady phenomena close to stall inception. Moreover, dynamic mode decomposition is employed to directly link each peak of the unique prestall disturbance spectral signature to spatial structures with different circumferential order. This procedure is done for both 1D circumferential modes, based on flush-mounted pressure probes, and for 2D surfaces exposing the tip clearance dynamics. The high-resolution numerical model, supplemented with vortex identification criteria and data-driven decompositions, enhances the understanding of prestall disturbances and their associated coherent flow structures.

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