Based on numerical modelling, the influence on the size of craters formed in steel targets of various strengths, the velocity of compact metal impactors of spherical and cylindrical shapes in the range from 2 to 10 km/s has been investigated. Numerical modelling was carried out for a two-dimensional axisymmetric problem of continuum mechanics using two different computing codes. To describe the behavior of the material of the impactor and the target, the model is a compressible elastic-plastic matter with a constant value of the yield strength. Copper, titanium, and tantalum are considered as the material of the impactor. When specifying the mass and velocity of the impactors, their kinetic energy remained constant. It was found that the dependences of the crater depth on the velocity of impactors with a constant value of kinetic energy have an extreme point of maximum at a certain value of the velocity, and the volume of craters monotonously decreases with increasing velocity. Based on the results of the analysis of energy conversion during the formation of an impact crater, an explanation has been proposed for the reason of the decrease in the volume of impact craters with an increase in the collision velocity at a constant kinetic energy of the impactor. This reason lies in the fact that with an increase in the collision velocity, the portion of the initial kinetic energy of the impactor increases, which is applied not for the plastic deformation of the target, but for its shock-wave heating.

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