A theory of rotating stall, based on single parameters for blades-passage lag and external-flow lag and a given compressor characteristic yields limit cycles in velocity space. These limit cycles are governed by Lienard’s equation with the characteristic playing the role of nonlinear damping function. Cyclic integrals of the solution determine stall propagation speed and the effect of rotating stall on average performance. Solution with various line-segment characteristics and various throttle settings are found and discussed. There is generally a limiting flow coefficient beyond which no solution is possible; this probably represents stall recovery. This recovery point is independent of internal compressor lag, but does depend on external lags and on the height-to-width ratio of the diagram. Tall diagrams and small external lags (inlet and diffusor) favor recovery. Suggestions for future theoretical and experimental research are discussed.

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