Rotating stall in axial compressors consists of regions or cells of retarded flow moving around the annulus relative to the blades. Planar symmetry is destroyed, resulting in stalled blades in part of the annulus and unstalled blades in the remainder. The stall cell moves in the direction opposite to the rotor, relative to the blades, but since the relative speed of propagation is usually less than the rotor speed, the cell is seen to move in the same direction as the rotor from an absolute reference frame. The presence of the stall cells results in a deterioration of compressor performance since the maximum pressure ratio is not achieved in regions of retarded flow. Furthermore, since this self-induced distortion is periodic, the forced frequencies generated may coincide with the natural harmonics of the blading, tending to cause structural damage. This paper describes a series of experiments in which a single-stage, lightly loaded compressor operated under stall-free conditions and with rotating stall, both with uniform inlet flow and with distortions generated by an upstream screen of uniform porosity. Not only was the overall compressor performance determined in the traditional manner, but the distribution of static pressure over the rotor suction and pressure surfaces was measured with high response instrumentation. The rotor pressure profiles measured in both undistorted and distorted flow are presented for operation before and after the onset of rotating stall and the latter are compared with the steady flow results. It is observed that two distinctly different types of rotating stall exist depending upon whether or not an inlet flow distortion is present. These cells differ not only in macroscopic properties—rotational speed, circumferential extent, mass-averaged flow conditions, etc.—but also in detailed flow characteristics as evidenced by the rotor blade static pressure distributions. It is further observed that not all inlet distortion geometries lead to the development of rotating stall.

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