Detailed measurements have been made within an axial compressor operating both at design point and near stall. Rotor tip clearance was found to control the performance of the machine by influencing the flow within the rotor blade passages. This was not found to be the case in the stator blade row, where hub clearance was introduced beneath the blade tips. Although the passage flow was observed to be altered dramatically, no significant changes were apparent in the overall pressure rise or stall point. Small tip clearances in the rotor blade row resulted in the formation of corner separations at the hub, where the blade loading was highest. More representative clearances resulted in blockage at the tip due to the increased tip clearance flow. The effects that have been observed emphasize both the three-dimensional nature of the flow within compressor blade passages, and the importance of the flow in the endwall regions in determining the overall compressor performance.

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