An analysis is made of rotating stall in compressors of many stages, finding conditions under which a flow distortion can occur which is steady in a traveling reference frame, even though upstream total and downstream static pressure are constant. In the compressor, a pressure-rise hysteresis is assumed. Flow in entrance and exit ducts yield additional lags. These lags balance to give a formula for stall propagation speed. For small disturbances, it is required that the compressor characteristics be flat in the neighborhood of average flow coefficient. Results are compared with the experiments of Day and Cumpsty. If a compressor lag of about twice that due only to fluid inertia is used, predicted propagation speeds agree almost exactly with experimental values, taking into account changes of number of stages, stagger angle, row spacing, and number of stall zones. The agreement obtained gives encouragement for the extension of the theory to account for large amplitudes.

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