A small-disturbance theory of rotating stall in axial compressors is extended to finite amplitude, assuming the compressor characteristic is a parabola over the range of the disturbance. An exact solution is found which requires the operating point to be at the minimum or maximum of the parabola. If the characteristic is flat in a deep-stall regime, the previous harmonic solution applies with neither reverse flow or “unstalling.” If the characteristic is concave upward in deep stall, the disturbance has a skewed shape, steeper at the stall-zone trailing edge as experiment shows. Propagation speed is only slightly affected by this nonlinearity. Near stall inception, negative curvature in combination with multiple stall zones can limit the nonlinear oscillation, in the manner of “progressive” stall. If, as seems likely, lag at stall inception is negative (opposite to inertia), propagation speed exceeds 1/2 wheel speed, as experiments suggest.

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