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Aerospace Science and Technology 10 (2006) 918 www.elsevier.

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Numerical simulation of rotating stall in a subsonic compressor Simulation numrique du dcollement tournant dans un compresseur subsonique
N. Gourdain a, , S. Burguburu a , F. Leboeuf b , H. Miton c
a Applied Aerodynamics Department, ONERA, 92320 Chtillon, France b LMFA (UMR CNRS 5509), 69134 Ecully, France c LEMFI, 91405 Orsay, France

Received 7 October 2004; received in revised form 9 March 2005; accepted 26 July 2005 Available online 18 August 2005

Abstract Rotating stall is generally the rst instability met in multi-stages compressors, before surge. This 3D phenomenon is characterized by one or more cells of stalled ow which rotate at a fraction of the rotor speed . The present paper deals with the simulation and the analysis of the rotating stall in a stage of a subsonic compressor. The conguration used for the study is an axial single-stage low speed compressor. A numerical simulation is carried out with a quasi three dimensional in-house code which solves the NavierStokes equations on a stream surface. The simulation shows a rotating stall with two cells which rotate at 48% of the rotor speed. Particular emphasis is laid on the pre stall phenomena analysis. The spatial mode which is responsible for the rotating stall cells number is identied many revolutions before the stall inception thanks to a Fourier analysis. However, further investigations are needed in order to identify the destabilizing mode origin. 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved. Rsum Le dcollement tournant est en gnral la premire instabilit rencontre dans les compresseurs multi tags, avant le pompage. Ce phnomne tridimensionnel est caractris par la prsence dune ou plusieurs poches de uide dcoll tournant une fraction de la vitesse du rotor. Cet article traite de la simulation numrique et de lanalyse du dcrochage tournant dans un tage de compresseur subsonique. La conguration retenue pour cette tude est un compresseur axial subsonique mono-tage. La simulation est ralise grce un code 2,5D qui permet de rsoudre les quations de NavierStokes moyennes sur une surface de courant. Le calcul met en vidence un dcollement tournant deux cellules se dplaant 48 % de la vitesse du rotor. Une attention particulire est apporte ltude des signes prcurseurs au dcollement. Ainsi, une analyse de Fourier a permis de mettre en vidence le mode spatial li au nombre de cellules, plusieurs rvolutions avant lapparition du dcollement. Cependant, dautres investigations seront ncessaires an dtablir lorigine exacte du mode instable. 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Numerical simulation; Compressor; Rotating stall Mots-cls : Simulation numrique ; Compresseur ; Dcollement tournant

* Corresponding author.

E-mail address: nicolas.gourdain@onera.fr (N. Gourdain). 1270-9638/$ see front matter 2005 Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ast.2005.07.006

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Nomenclature Cn M(n, b) N Nn Pi Pi0 Ps Q Qn Fourier coefcients amplitude Rotor/stator interaction mode (n, b integers) Rotational speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rpm Nominal Rotational Speed . . . . . . . . . 6300 rpm Downstream total pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pa Upstream total pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pa Static pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pa Mass ow rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . kg/s Nominal mass ow rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 kg/s R t T U cell Nominal radius of the compressor (R = 0.2628 m) Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s 2/ (time for one revolution of the rotor) Axial speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . m/s Azimuth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Throttle parameter Density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . kg/m3 Tangential rotor speed . . . . . . . . . . . 173.3 m s1 Tangential cell speed (fraction of )

1. Introduction Aerodynamic instabilities occurring in turbomachines are studied for 50 years but the basic mechanisms linked to these unstable phenomena are not yet well understood. Many experimental studies (Emmons [3], Day [2]) have allowed to characterize the ow when the machine runs at partial ow rate. Two major phenomena could be identied: rotating stall and surge. In the case of a multistage compressor, the rst instability encountered is rotating stall. When the mass ow rate decreases, the ow become unstable and one or more cells of stalled uid appear and rotate at a fraction of the rotor speed. This running mode is responsible for strong vibrations which could damage the blades. The prediction of this phenomenon could be very useful for the designer in order to reduce the stall margin and enable the compressor to operate at higher pressure ratio. Unfortunately the stall inception point is very difcult to estimate. However, some structures, called precursors, could be observed, sometimes many hundreds revolutions, before stall or surge (Garnier [6]). These precursors could be spikes or modal waves, depending on the compressor geometry (Nishioka [12]). Techniques for active control of rotating stall and surge are based on the identication of these structures. A good understanding of the stall inception mechanisms is essential to improve precursors seeking. The better the prediction of the stability limit is, the lower the stall margin is. Reducing the stall margin allows to design compressors at higher pressure rise and improves the complete system of propulsion in terms of weight. Analytical models (Moore and Greitzer [11], Markopoulos [10]) could give valuable information about the pressure rise or mass ow rate evolution during rotating stall (or surge) but are not able to predict correctly the stability limit. To predict this point, another approach can be considered: Computational Fluid Dynamics. The usefulness of CFD calculations in compressor design has been well demonstrated. During the 90s, many numerical studies have been carried out and allow to identify different elements which play a role on the rotating stall inception. Thus, the rotor/stator interaction part on the stalled cells conguration is well established

and basic mechanisms can be captured using a quasi 3D time marching NavierStokes ow solver (He [8]). The present work focuses on two aspects: simulation of the rotating stall phenomenon with a quasi 3D ow solver and improvement of the knowledge about this instability in a subsonic compressor. In a rst part, the numerical method is presented with the model studied and the particular boundary conditions used. In a second part, all the simulation strategy is described. A rst work is accomplished on a part of the geometry in order to check the capability of the ow solver to simulate rotating stall and next, a complete stage calculation is made. Results from the whole geometry simulation are then analyzed in a last part. In particular, a Fourier decomposition is performed in order to study the transient running around the stall inception point and a comparison between experimental and numerical data is done.

2. Compressor description The conguration studied in this work is a one stage axial subsonic compressor (Faure et al. [4], Fig. 1). The casing radius is 275 mm and the hub to tip ratio is 0.78. The blade number of rotor and stator is 30 and 40 respectively. The nominal rotational speed is 6300 rpm for a mass ow rate of 11 kg/s. Under these conditions, the total pressure rise is 1.14 and the compressor power is about 200 kW. This kind

Fig. 1. Axial view of the compressor.

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of compressor is well suited for rotating stall studies because the power is low with regard to dimensions. So there is no mechanical failure risk. Moreover, an asset for the numerical study is that an experimental work about the rotating stall phenomenon is currently in progress on this conguration and a comparison between measurements and calculation is possible.

3. Numerical simulation 3.1. The Q3D ow solver The Reynolds Averaged NavierStokes (RANS) equations are solved by an in-house code (ONERA) on a stream surface (Fig. 2). The interest of this technique is to take into account radius and thickness evolution with reduced calculation time. The governing equations are integrated in time by a 4 steps RungeKutta scheme and in space by a centred Jameson scheme. An Implicit Residual Smoothing technique (IRS) is used in order to speed up the convergence. The Reynolds number based on the rotor chord is equal to Re 5 105 and the ow is assumed fully turbulent.

A BaldwinLomax mixing length model is coupled with a wall law approach (y + 20) to reduce the computational time (Baldwin and Lomax [1], Goncalvs [7]). Thanks to these techniques, only 7200 iterations are required to simulate one revolution of the rotor. From an aerodynamic point of view, the BaldwinLomax turbulence model is not the most suited for separated ows but the main criterion is the time calculation. A few trials have been made with the BaldwinLomax model and show that the stall inception is well predicted in term of mass ow. 3.2. Mesh and compressor model The computational domain consists of a quasi 3D stream surface of a complete compressor stage. As the stall cells are assumed to appear near the shroud, the calculation mesh is located at 80% of the blade span. For this conguration, the radius is taken as a constant and the thickness evolution is calculated with a simplied radial equilibrium (at design conditions). The mesh is made by using the ICEM-CFD software (Fig. 3). One passage is divided into 4 domains: 2 H-grids upstream and downstream of the blade, one H-grid for the passage between the blades and one O-grid around the blade. The total mesh points for one passage are about 10.000. The nodes distribution in one passage is described on Table 1. The boundary of the upstream mesh is located at about 5 chords of the rotor blade and the downstream mesh extends up to 3 chords of the stator blades. At the inlet, a uniform stagnation pressure and temperature is imposed. Downstream classical boundary conditions (uniform static pressure) are not sufcient to simulate an operating point
Table 1 Nodes distribution in one passage (i j ) Rotor O-blade H-upstream H-channel H-downstream 205 23 47 61 65 21 13 57 Stator 223 21 13 43 89 21 43 45

Fig. 2. View of a stream surface.

Fig. 3. The O-3H mesh (3 rotor passages and 4 stator passages).

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Fig. 4. The compressor model.

near the maximum pressure rise. When the slope of the characteristic becomes zero, the calculation is not able to reach the xed downstream pressure. In order to simulate the experimental facility, a throttle condition is applied at the outlet, coupled with a non reective condition. This boundary condition is dened by: PC.L = Q2 + Pext (1)

Fig. 5. Compressor characteristic map.

where Pext is the innite downstream pressure, Q the mass ow and the throttle coefcient. For the simulation, the tangential speed of rotor blade is = 173.3 m s1 (Nn = 6300 rpm at a radius of 0.2628 m) and the inlet ow angle is 0o . Moreover no articial perturbation is introduced in the ow at anytime. The model which is studied represents the rotor blade row and the stator blade row with an inlet duct of 5 chords and an outlet duct of 3 chords (Fig. 4).

4. Results and discussions


Fig. 6. Entropy ow eld during rotating stall.

The model on Fig. 4 is used for all calculations. To begin with, steady calculations are performed and numerical characteristics are compared with experimental data. Then, unsteady simulations start on a part of the compressor geometry, for a lower time of computation, in order to check the capability of the ow solver to simulate the rotating stall phenomenon. Finally, the whole geometry is represented (70 channels) for a complete stage simulation and results are analyzed. 4.1. Steady calculations In order to characterize the compressor, many steady calculations are carried out. Treatment at the rotor-stator interface is made with the mixing plane approach (azimuthal averaged), and only one channel of each row is represented. The pressure rise evolution with respect to the mass ow is plotted for three different rotational speeds (Fig. 5). The comparison with experimental data is reasonably good, especially at the nominal point. Nevertheless, the stability limit is not well predicted, probably due to the algebraic model of BaldwinLomax, and the slope of the characteristic is slightly over estimated due to the quasi 3D simulation.

4.2. Reduced blades count simulation This section considers a part of the compressor stage (Fourmaux [5]). The treatment between the rotor blade row and the stator blade row is an unsteady condition (interpolations between the rotor mesh and the stator mesh in the azimuth direction). The rotating stall cells need a minimum of 23 channels to fully develop. For this reason, a minimum of 6 rotor blades and 8 stator blades is needed for the simulation (1:5 of the whole annulus). The total number of nodes points for this conguration is about 140.000. The simulation of one revolution of the rotor requires about 1.7 hours on a Compaq HPC-320. The calculation is started at the nominal operating point (N = 6300 rpm, Q/Qn = 1.0, Pi/Pi0 = 1.14). The outlet pressure is then increased step by step until the mass ow rate Q/Qn = 75%. For this mass ow, the total pressure Pi/Pi0 is 1.20. Two revolutions are required to converge towards this mass ow and three additional revolutions must be simulated for the inception of the rotating stall cells. Many cells are observed as indicated on the entropy eld on Fig. 6. The analysis of a pressure signal from a probe lo-

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Fig. 7. Static pressure signal at rotor/stator interface.

Fig. 9. Entropy ow eld during rotating stall (t = 20T ).

Fig. 8. Static pressure history at rotor/stator interface.

Fig. 10. Axial velocity signals U = f (, t) registered by xed probes located at the rotor leading edge.

cated in the rotor-stator gap gives a rotational speed of the cells of about 50% of the rotor speed (Fig. 7). This simulation only demonstrates the capability of the code to simulate the rotating stall phenomenon and shows that the numerical choices concerning the boundary conditions and the turbulence model are sufcient to capture stall inception mechanisms. 4.3. Complete stage calculation This simulation is carried out on the whole geometry of the compressor, both on the rotor blade row and on the stator blade row, for a more realistic representation of the rotating stall phenomenon. The number of mesh points is about 700.000 for the complete stage. The simulation of one revolution of the rotor requires about 8.4 hours on a Compaq HPC-320. The same operating point as for the previous simulation is chosen (N = 6300 rpm, Q/Qn = 75%, Pi/Pi0 = 1.20) and 50 revolutions are simulated. This requires about 400

hours on a Compaq HPC-320. Eight revolutions are necessary to observe the stall cells inception (Fig. 8). First instabilities appear in the rotor blade row and, as it can be seen on the entropy eld of Fig. 9, two cells exist. One cell covers up about 7 passages of the rotor row so all cells cover 50% of the whole annulus. Thanks to Fig. 10, the rotational speed of the two cells is computed equal to 48% of the rotor speed. During rotating stall, the compressor runs on a new characteristic and the mass ow rate drops down from Q/Qn = 75% to Q/Qn = 70%. The pressure rise is Pi/Pi0 = 1.17 during rotating stall against Pi/Pi0 = 1.20 before the cells inception. The present work focuses especially on the basic mechanisms which are responsible for the stall inception and on the identication of pre-stall signs. So, a particular emphasis is laid on the analysis of the 8 rst revolutions, just before rotating stall occurs. The main questions are the following:

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Fig. 11. The density gradient eld (grad )/ just before rotating stall occurs (t = 6T ).

(1) Why could a ow with a uniform upstream boundary condition along the circumference present one or more circumferential zones with a lower axial velocity? (2) How could a cell have a circumferential length higher than one channel? (3) Why is the cell an instability source for the compressor? (4) How do the cells evolve respect with respect to time (spatial and temporal modes)? Answers to these questions could be brought thanks to the Fourier Transform method. 4.4. The stall inception In order to detect stall before cells appear, it is very useful to know the basic mechanisms which are responsible for the rotating stall inception. A study of the ow, at partial mass ow but before the stall inception could answer this question. The ow does not become suddenly unstable and pre-stall phenomena could be observed. Vortex shedding at the trailing edge of the stator blades is represented in Fig. 11. These vortices, which look like Von Karman vortices, are the rst pre-stall signs observed in the compressor. These structures are probably the result of a low axial velocity zone at the leading edge of the rotor. The ow incidence increases at the rotor leading edge, the wake of the rotor thickens and the incidence at the leading edge of the stator blades increases. To identify the time when the rst signs of stall appears, a frequency analysis of pressure signals can be done. The difculty is that a Fourier transform with a time signal gives all the frequencies content in the signal but without information about the time location of one particular frequency (a time representation or a frequency representation but not both in the same time). So during the transient running time signals can not be used for analysis. One way to go further in the analysis is to perform a space Fourier transform on the circumferential signal in order to identify modes. At one chord upstream of the rotor blade row, a static pressure signal is registered around the circumference (2 ) for different times (Fig. 12). From this signal, a Dis-

Fig. 12. Static pressure signals at different instant of times (upstream of the rotor).

crete Fourier Transform is realized (Fig. 13). All times are given in multiple of revolutions (t = kT ). Classic interaction modes between rotor blade row and stator blade row are predicted by the relation: M(n, b) = nR bS (2)

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is perturbed by the spatial interaction modes. The spatial wavelength linked to these modes could be lower (mode 40) or higher (mode 20) than one channel length and that explains why a cell could cover up more than one channel (question 2). Unfortunately, there is no indication about the stability of one particular mode and it is not possible to answer the question 3. The last question 4 could nd an answer in the next Section 4.5. In the present case, the rst mode of interaction is the mode 10 and the second one is the mode 20. After 4 revolutions at partial mass ow, ve different modes could be observed: the rst and the second mode of rotor/stator interaction are the greatest (modes 10 and 20), with a strong domination of the second one. The mode 30 corresponds to the fundamental mode of the rotor row, the mode 40 is the spatial mode linked to the stator row and the mode 50 is another rotor/stator interaction mode. At t = 6T , a new mode 2 is observed. This is the one which is linked to the rotating stall cells. During the eighth revolution, the mode 2 becomes the dominant mode and two stalled cells appear in the eld. Fig. 13 shows others modes of low amplitude when the spatial mode 2 becomes dominant. There are harmonics of the spatial mode 2 (mode 4, mode 6) and combinations between interactions modes and mode 2 (mode 8 and 22). Thanks to Figs. 12 and 13, one knows that the mode 2 triggers the stall but it could be useful to know how this mode evolves with respect to the time after the cells inception. As it will be shown in the next paragraph, pressure signals are strongly perturbed by another phenomenon when the stall cells are fully developed. In order to follow the stall evolution in time, axial velocity signals seem to be well suited. A velocity signal U = f (t) is registered around the circumference at one chord of the rotor leading edge during all the simulation. Fig. 14 shows the 3 rst Fourier coefcients evolution with respect to time. One can observe that although the spatial mode 2 is the most unstable mode in the ow, after ten revolutions it reaches a quasi-constant value and the rotating stall becomes a periodic phenomenon.

Fig. 13. D.F.T. of static pressure signals at different times.

where M is the interaction mode, R and S are the rotor blades number and the stator blades number respectively, n and b are integers. Eq. (2) could answer the previous question 1. The ow is not exactly uniform upstream of the rotor blades row and

Fig. 14. Fourier coefcients amplitude during the simulation.

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4.5. Established rotating stall phenomenon After the 8th revolution, rotating stall cells appear in the compressor. Each of them is fully developed after only 2 revolutions as it can be seen on Fig. 14. When the compressor runs under rotating stall conditions, a new phenomenon appears. A static pressure signal is registered by a probe around the circumference at one chord of the rotor leading edge (Fig. 15) during the 16th revolution, or 8 revolutions after the stall inception. The ow is clearly perturbed by a spatial mode 6. Fig. 16 shows the static pressure rise eld at the same time. Six structures can be observed upstream of the rotor (the light blue structures). In order to characterize this phenomenon, a pressure signal is registered during 8 revolutions by a xed probe located at one chord upstream of the rotor leading edge from the 17th to 25th revolution (Fig. 17). Thanks to a D.F.T, all frequencies of this signal could be extracted. There are 3 dominant frequencies. The rst one, the mode 30, corresponds to the BPF (Blade Passing Frequency). The second one, the mode 1, is linked to the rotating stall cells. The last one is the mode 12 and corresponds to the six upstream structures. This means that each of this structures move at a speed of 2, approximately equal to the speed of sound (340 m s1 ). These structures are probably the result of an interaction between the rotor blades row and the two rotating stall cells. Table 2 below indicates the relation between mode and frequency.

Fig. 16. Static pressure rise eld Ps/Pi0 = f () during the 16th revolution.

Fig. 17. Pressure signal registered by a xed probe located at one chord upstream of the rotor.

Table 2 Link between temporal modes and frequencies Temporal mode Fig. 15. Static pressure signal Ps = f () upstream of the rotor during rotating stall (top) and Fourier Transform (bottom). Blade passing frequency Rotating stall Rotor/stall interaction 30 1 12 Frequency (Hz) 3150 100 1260

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Table 3 Comparison between experimental and numerical results Experiment Stall inception point Number of cells Tangential cells speed Stall cell amplitude Q/Qn = 78% 1 cell / = 40% 120 Simulation Q/Qn = 75% 2 cell / = 48% 2 90

Fig. 19. Modes of the compressor at Q/Qn = 100% (near the rotor leading edge).

Fig. 18. Discrete Fourier Transform of a time signal.

4.6. Discussion In order to discuss the previous numerical results, it is interesting to know some of the experimental data. Table 3 sums up the main numerical results and compares with the experimental data. The rst difference between experiment and simulation is the stability limit of the ow. Probably, the turbulence model of Baldwin and Lomax delays the separation of the boundary layer. Steady calculations with the SpalartAllmaras model nd a numerical stability limit for Q/Qn = 80%. Thus the turbulence model seems to be a very important parameter in order to predict correctly the stability limit. The second difference between experiment and simulation is the number of cells (one in the experimental case). This is probably linked to the fact that the solution of a 3D problem is not exactly the same as for the corresponding quasi 3D problem. It is logical to think that a 3D simulation could improve the results. Concerning the stall inception, Fig. 13 shows that the destabilizing mode is present at least 2 revolutions before stall occurs. So it is obvious that the rotating stall phenomenon is a consequence of this upstream perturbation. One indication is that a numerical study which considers the 2D Euler equation coupled with an actuator disk model is sufcient in order to simulate the rotating stall phenomenon (O. Schmidtmann [13]). When the mass ow decreases, the ow upstream of the rotor is strongly perturbed by a spatial
Fig. 20. Modes of the compressor at Q/Qn = 75% (near the rotor leading edge).

mode and the ow is redistributed along the circumference. Then two zones could be distinguished with high and low axial velocities respectively. When a low axial velocity zone impacts on the rotor, the ow incidence increases considerably at the rotor leading edge and a massive boundary layer separation could occur on many blades at the same time. The problem is to identify the origin of the destabilizing mode. Interaction between rotor blades row and stator blades row is known as the major source of unsteadiness in a compressor, so an answer to the previous question could come from a better understanding of these interaction effects. For example, He [8] shows that the rotating stall conguration is not the same with and without a stator blades row behind the rotor, and the number of cells depends also of the blade number ratio between rotor and stator. In the present case, upstream spatial modes of the compressor are plotted at the nominal mass ow and at a partial mass ow (Figs. 19 and 20 respectively). On these gures it is obvious that coupling between rotor and stator is stronger at partial mass ow, especially for the interaction mode 20. Nevertheless, the role of the coupling between rows is not well known today. Many other ways exist in order to identify the destabilizing mode origin. The acoustic wave resonance in the

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compressor is proposed as a possibility (B. Hellmich [9]). Structures observed on Fig. 16 move at the speed of sound. So it is certainly an acoustic phenomenon but it appears after the rotating stall inception. For this study it is very difcult to conclude on this possibility.

parallel computation. Concerning the analysis of the future results, it could be interesting to have a time-frequencies representation of the signals which could be achieved thanks to a wavelet transform.

Acknowledgements 5. Conclusion The capability of rotating stall simulation with a quasi 3D ow solver has been demonstrated and a stabilized conguration with two stall cells could be observed. Thus this method is sufcient to capture the physical mechanisms linked to this instability with a low cost in terms of computational time. The unsteady calculations of the complete stage of the compressor and an analysis of the results have also shown the destabilizing mode many revolutions of the rotor before the stall occurs in the stage. The pictures on the Figs. 19 and 20 prove that the interaction between rotor and stator blade rows plays probably a role on the rotating stall inception but the exact origin of this mode is still unknown. From the present work the following conclusions could be drawn: Rotating stall phenomenon is probably a specic instability of rotating ow. Stall cells are the result of the upstream ow disorganization when mass ow decreases or when the downstream pressure increases (dependency to the initial conditions). In the present case, rotating stall is initiated by an upstream modal wave. The mechanisms which are responsible of the ow redistribution along the circumference are not well identied. This study shows a 2D representation of a 3D phenomenon and the fact that cells cover up only a part of the rotor span could not be visible with this approach. In order to obtain a better representation of the rotating stall phenomenon, a 3D NavierStokes simulation on the complete stage of the CME2 compressor is currently in progress. This study brings the proof that the BaldwinLomax model is not sufcient to predict the stability limit of the compressor, and the Spalart Allmaras model is used for the 3D calculation. The mesh of this conguration is composed of about 30 million of points and all calculations will be carried out thanks to a massive The authors would like to thanks SNECMA Moteur, TURBOMECA and EDF for their partial funding through the Industrial Research Consortium in Turbomachinery (CIRT).

References
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