By far the greater part of our understanding about stall and surge in axial compressors comes from work on low-speed laboratory machines. As a general rule, these machines do not model the compressibility effects present in high-speed compressors and therefore doubt has always existed about the application of low-speed results to high-speed machines. In recent years interest in active control has led to a number of studies of compressor stability in engine-type compressors. The instrumentation used in these experiments has been sufficiently detailed that, for the first time, adequate data are available to make direct comparisons between high-speed and low-speed compressors. This paper presents new data from an eight-stage fixed geometry engine compressor and compares them with low-speed laboratory data. The results show remarkable similarities in both the stalling and surging behavior of the two machines, particularly when the engine compressor is run at intermediate speeds. The engine results also show that, as in the laboratory tests, surge is precipitated by the onset of rotating stall. This is true even at very high speeds where it had previously been thought that surge might be the result of a blast wave moving through the compressor. This paper therefore contains new information about high-speed compressors and confirms that low-speed testing is an effective means of obtaining insight into the behavior of high-speed machines.

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