The surge and rotating stall post-instability behaviors of axial flow compressors are investigated from a bifurcation-theoretic perspective, using a model and system data presented by Greitzer (1976a). For this model, a sequence of local and global bifurcations of the nonliner system dynamics is uncovered. This includes a global bifurcation of a pair of large-amplitude periodic solutions. Resulting from this bifurcation are a stable oscillation (“surge”) and an unstable oscillation (“anti-surge”). The latter oscillation is found to have a deciding significance regarding the particular post-instability behavior experienced by the compressor. These results are used to reconstruct Greitzer’s (1976b) findings regarding the manner in which post-instability behavior depends on system parameters. Although the model does not directly reflect nonaxisymmetric dynamics, use of a steady-state compressor characteristic approximating the measured characteristic of Greitzer (1976a) is found to result in conclusions that compare well with observation. Thus, the paper gives a convenient and simple explanation of the boundary between surge and rotating stall behaviors, without the use of more intricate models and analyses including nonaxisymmetric flow dynamics.

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