What would happen to the chip if one of the buffers became shorted to GND?
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One buffer can survive a short to ground at room temperature, but we have no lifetime reliability data with this condition, so I'm unsure about long-term effects such as electromigration. Short to ground at maximum ambient temperature might be okay for brief durations <1s, but once switching the device self-heating combined with high ambient temperature is beyond what the device is planned to tolerate. Even if the device is undamaged, other outputs are likely to begin drooping or seeing performance degradation as a result of the elevated supply current. The same is true for more than one output shorting to GND simultaneously: as more outputs are shorted, the self-heating will be higher, so the reasonable ambient temperature must be reduced before damage.