The phenomenon of flow instability in the compression system such as fan and compressor has been a long-standing “bottle-neck” problem for gas turbines/aircraft engines. With a vision of providing a state-of-the-art understanding of the flow field in axial-flow compressor in the perspective of enhancing their stability using passive means. Two topics are covered in this paper. The first topic is the stability-limiting flow mechanism close to stall, which is the basic knowledge needed to manipulate end-wall flow behavior for the stability improvement. The physical process occurring when approaching stall and the role of complex tip flow mechanism on flow instability in current high subsonic axial compressor rotor has been assessed using single blade passage computations. The second topic is flow instability manipulation with casing treatment. In order to advance the understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of casing treatment and determine the change in the flow field by which casing treatment improve compressor stability, systematic studies of the coupled flow through a subsonic compressor rotor and various end-wall treatments were carried out using a state-of-the-art multi-block flow solver. The numerically obtained flow fields were interrogated to identify complicated flow phenomenon around and within the end-wall treatments and describe the interaction between the rotor tip flow and end-wall treatments. Detailed analyses of the flow visualization at the rotor tip have exposed the different tip flow topologies between the cases with treatment casing and with untreated smooth wall. It was found that the primary stall margin enhancement afforded by end-wall treatments is a result of the tip flow manipulation. Compared to the smooth wall case, the treated casing significantly dampen or absorb the blockage near the upstream part of the blade passage caused by the upstream movement of tip clearance flow and weakens the roll-up of the core vortex. These mechanisms prevent an early spillage of low momentum fluid into the adjacent blade passage and delay the onset of flow instability.

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