This paper describes measurements of the performance of a research stage operating in isolation and as part of a multistage compressor. It is shown that the stall point and the stalled performance of the stage are properties of the system in which it operates rather than a property of the stage itself. The consequences of this for the estimation of the stall point for compressors and compression systems are discussed. The support that the measurements give to assumptions made by mathematical models which use the concept of an ‘underlying axisymmetric’ characteristic are highlighted.

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