While the object shown here might bring some piece of modern sculpture to mind, it is actually a fastener for the seat covers in the new Mercedes B-Class.
Not only does the clip have an interesting shape, but there is more to it than meets the eye: the clip exceeds the current VDA 275 guideline from the German Association of the Automotive Industry for formaldehyde emissions from plastic components in vehicle interiors. Apparently, Daimler has decided that it would have stricter limit values for the polyoxymethylene (POM) components it uses in its vehicles.
The clip is made of Hostaform POM XAP2 from Ticona. It was developed by French automotive fastener company A.Raymond and Johnson Controls. It measures 20 x 12 mm and weights about 1 g.
According to Michael Hoerr of Ticona’s Automotive business unit, the material “is highly suitable for many types of applications that are subject to high degrees of wear or stress in the vehicle interior.” This includes headrests, lumbar supports, IP panels, center consoles, and trim.
While you might think of formaldehyde only in the context of your local funeral home or some of the works by Damien Hirst, it may be worth noting that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is “a known human carcinogen.” That clip looks all the better, doesn’t it?