This paper describes the development of a new analysis to predict the onset of flow instability for an axial compressor operating in a circumferentially distorted inlet flow. A relatively simple model is used to examine the influence of various distortions in setting this instability point. It is found that the model reproduces known experimental trends for the loss of stability margin with increasing distortion amplitude and with changes in reduced frequency. In particular, there is a recognizable “critical sector angle” which characterizes loss of stability margin. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time the effects described herein have been theoretically demonstrated as the direct result of a fluid dynamic stability calculation.

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