In mathematics, Ricci-flat manifolds are Riemannian manifolds whose Ricci curvature vanishes. In physics, they represent vacuum solutions to the analogues of Einstein's equations for Riemannian manifolds of any dimension, with vanishing cosmological constant. Ricci-flat manifolds are special cases of Einstein manifolds, where the cosmological constant need not vanish.
Since Ricci curvature measures the amount by which the volume of a small geodesic ball deviates from the volume of a ball in Euclidean space, small geodesic balls will have no volume deviation, but their "shape" may vary from the shape of the standard ball in Euclidean space. For example, in a Ricci-flat manifold, a circle in Euclidean space may be deformed into an ellipse with equal area. This is due to Weyl curvature.
- Matthew Randall, Almost Projectively Ricci-flat Manifolds, Dept. of Mathematics, University of Auckland, 2010.
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