An aerodynamic instability known as stall occurs in axial compressors as the mass flow rate is reduced and the blade loading reaches its limit. At this limiting condition, an easily recognizable flow breakdown process, known as spike-type stall inception, is observed in most modern compressors. This article begins by examining measurements from both low- and high-speed compressors to explain the characteristic features of spike-type stall. This is followed by a review of past work on compressor stability and an assessment of recent advances in this field. Included here is a study of the three-dimensional flow features that typify spike formation and its eventual growth into a mature stall cell. We also consider the formation criteria for spike-type stall and the means for early detection and possible control. On the computational side, a possible mechanism for spike formation is identified from three-dimensional studies of the flow in the rotor tip region. This mechanism involves tip-clearance backflow at the blade's trailing edge in combination with forward spillage of tip-leakage flow at the leading edge. This flow pattern implies that a successful stall-control technology will have to rely on an effective means of suppressing tip-clearance backflow and forward spillage.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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