Abstract

Previous research into axial compressor stall has mainly focused on stall inception and methods to extend the stable operating range. This paper considers the performance of an axial compressor beyond stall and investigates how the characteristics of stall cells depend on Reynolds number. An experimental study has been conducted using a single-stage axial compressor capable of operating across the Reynolds number range of 10,000 – 100,000. Detailed unsteady measurements have been used to measure the behaviour across a range of in-stall flow coefficients. These measurements have been used to extract the stall hysteresis and to determine the size, speed, number, and spanwise extent of the stall cells. The results show that for the stalled compressor, as Reynolds number increases, the size of the minimum stable stall cell decreases. This means that a larger change in throttle area is needed to reduce the stall cell down to a size where the compressor can recover from stall. At the design Reynolds number, the number of stall cells that form transitions from one, to two, and then to four stall cells as the flow coefficient is reduced. At lower Reynolds numbers, the two-stall-cell state becomes unstable; instead, a single stall cell transitions directly into five stall cells. As the number of stall cells increases, so do the speed of the stall cells and the total size. Further reductions in the flow coefficient cause an increase in the total size and a decrease in the stall cell speed.

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