The function of current limiting circuitry is to prevent damage to the IC when an overload is placed on the output of the regulator (the load impedance is too low). Without current limiting, the regulator would source excessive load current and destroy the pass transistor inside the part.
If the load current increases to the limiting value, the current limiting circuitry will take control and force the load current to the set limiting value (overriding the voltage error amplifier). The voltage error amplifier can resume control only if the load current is reduced sufficiently to cause the current limiting circuits to release control. This is covered in detail in the "Current Limiting" section.
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