This paper examines unsteady response of an experimental two-stage centrifugal compressor with vaneless diffusers. A thorough investigation of pressure fluctuations along the compressor channel is carried out in order to examine the onset of unstable flow conditions. Rotating stall structures are localized, with special attention paid to identifying the most sensitive area of the multi-stage compressor channel which may serve as a precursor to unstable compressor operation. It is shown that both stages may develop rotating stall structures simultaneously, however the 2nd stage tends to destabilize first and reveals higher magnitudes of the unsteady response.

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