Through-flow theory is at the heart of turbomachinery aerodynamic design in that it provides the incidence and Mach number distributions that are ultimately used to define the rotor and stator airfoil contours. The assumption of axisymmetry plays a major role in the formulation of the theory and the consequences of this assumption have historically necessitated the introduction of “blockage” to account for the nonaxisymmetries in the flow. The present paper provides an assessment of these assumptions and of through-flow theory in general by making detailed comparisons between computed and measured results for a two-stage axial compressor. Part I focuses on the experimental benchmark data base and on how these data were used to fully define all of the aerodynamic input required by a through-flow analysis.

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