Industrial axial flow compressors are specially designed to achieve a wide operating range. The analysis of an existing six-stage axial flow research compressor indicated that the front stage could be improved significantly using modern design technique. To demonstrate the advantages of such a technique a redesign of the current front stage was conducted. By controlling the diffusion inside the blade sections with an inverse design method, loading was enlarged. Higher loading normally results in a reduction of profile incidence range. For compensation a wide chord application was chosen. Compared to the original compressor version, experiments resulted in steeper characteristic curves together with larger usable operating range. Keeping the same outer and inner diameter, mass flow was increased by 6 percent. Measurements of performance curves with variable speed and for guide vane control are presented. Theoretical calculations achieve a high degree of agreement with measured performance.

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