The interaction between surge and rotating stall in an axial flow compressor was investigated from the viewpoint of an unsteady inner flow structure. The aim of this study was to identify the key factor that determines the switching phenomenon of a surge cycle. The main feature of the tested compressor is a shock tube connected in series to the compressor outlet through a diaphragm, slits, and a concentric duplex pipe: this system allows surge and rotating stall to be generated by connecting the shock tube with the compressor, or enables the compression plane wave injection. The unsteady characteristics and the internal flow velocity fluctuations were measured in detail, and the stall cell structure was averaged and visualized along the movement of the operation point under a coexisting state of surge. A coefficient of the cell scale fluctuation was calculated using the result of the averaging, and it confirmed that the processes of inner flow structure change differed from each other according to the next cycle of the surge. The result suggests that the key factor that determines the next cycle is the transformation of the internal flow structure, particularly between the stall cell and the entire circumferential stall, in both the recovering and stalling processes.
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