The application of moderate pressure gradients can exercise a large influence on the decay of wakes produced by obstructions in a flow field. In fact, a positive pressure gradient may arrest completely the decay process and cause the relative wake size to grow rapidly. This phenomenon could exist in any diffusing passage whose entrance flow has a wake-type distortion. Such a nonuniformity, due to a blade or a strut or other cause of stagnation-pressure variation in the stream, could lead to diffuser stall, as has been demonstrated experimentally. An analytical study of the problem has been made on the basis of measurements made in the M.I.T. Gas Turbine Laboratory. Theoretical considerations have led to a very convenient calculation formula which shows quite acceptable agreement with experimental data. The methods employ momentum integral equations and an “eddy viscosity” which is uniform across the wake and proportional to the product of the local free-stream velocity and the momentum thickness.

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