This paper deals with the first instability which occurs in compressors, close to the maximum of pressure rise, called rotating stall. A numerical simulation of these flow phenomena is performed and a comparison with experimental data is made. The configuration used for the simulation is an axial single-stage and low speed compressor (compressor CME2, LEMFI). The whole stage is modeled with a full 3D approach and tip clearance is taken into account. The numerical simulation shows that at least two different mechanisms are involved in the stall inception. The first one leads to a rotating stall with 10 cells and the second one leads to a configuration with only 3 cells. Unsteady signals from the computation are analyzed thanks to a time-frequency spectral analysis. An original model is proposed, in order to predict the spatial and the temporal modes which are the results of the interaction between stall cells and the compressor stage. A comparison with measurements shows that the computed stall inception point corresponds to the experimental limit of stability. The performance of the compressor during rotating stall is also well predicted by the simulation.

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