An investigation of the surge behavior of a high-speed ten-stage axial flow compressor

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Virginia Tech


During a ten-stage compressor rig test conducted at Wright-Patterson AFB, several instances of compressor surge were observed. While surge is known to occur in high-speed multi-stage compressors, very little transient data pertaining to such events exists in the open literature, exclusive of engine data. In an attempt to make more data of this type available to researchers, surge data from the ten-stage compressor test is presented and analyzed in this thesis. Graphical presentation and data analysis techniques are employed in an effort to characterize the surge behavior of this compressor. Furthermore, the predictions of a computer-based transient compressor model are compared to the data for study.

In the course of reviewing the data included in this thesis, certain abnormalities were noted in the overall behavior of this compressor. During testing, several researchers found that the speed boundary between surge and rotating stall occurred between 80% and 81 % corrected design rotor speeds. 1hls boundary did not change when the compressor discharge volume was increased or decreased. This seemed to contradict accepted theory, which predicts a shift in the surge/rotating stall boundary with discharge volume changes. An investigation into the possible causes of this phenomenon was conducted as part of this thesis. Several theories were explored, including the possibility of excess volume communicating with the compressor during instability. Although the excess volume theory could not be proven, it remains the most likely cause of the usual surge/rotating stall boundary behavior.