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Eastern Washington University
526 5th Street
Cheney, WA 99004
phone: 509.359.6200 (campus operator)

Aleksandr Pikalov

Attending: University of Houston, Ph.D. Chemistry


Acknowledgement to Mentor: I would like to thank Dr. Wes Steiner for being thegreatest mentor ever. Over the past couple of years, Dr. Steiner has invested an impressive amount of time helping me to develop valuable research techniques.




Aleksandr Pikalov was born in Uzbekistan and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was a child. He understood the importance of receiving an education, and therefore is majoring in biochemistry with a physics minor. He enjoys challenges and likes to face them and successfully concur them.



Dr. Wes Steiner, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, EWU


TRiO McNair Research Internship:___________________________________________________________

The Analysis of Biodiesel Blends by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) (2012 & 2013)
The increasing importance of sustainability in energy production worldwide has led to a recent global effort in the reduction of our dependence on fossil fuels and a commitment to the use of fuels derived from renewable biological sources such as biodiesel produced from plant based crops. Biodiesel consists of fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) that are produced from a catalyzed transesterification reaction involving methanol and triglycerides obtained from vegetable oils such as soybean and rapeseed. Considering biodiesel has many desirable diesel fuel properties, such as very low sulphur content, reduction in engine wear, and is cleaner burning than fossil based diesel, it has become of considerable importance to be able to accurately verify the FAME content of various biodiesel fuel blends while they are in production and/or in distribution chains. To that end, this experiment worked to precisely and accurately determine the FAME content of commonly available biodiesel blends through the use of the instrumental analysis technique Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Here FAME concentrations where found using regression analysis techniques such as Beer's Law and/or principal component regression with correlation coefficients (R2) values often being found to be ≥ 0.999. Precision in terms of percent relative standard deviation (%RSD) and accuracy in terms of percent relative error (%RE) were also determined. Additionally, sample handling and data acquisition optimization procedures of the FT-IR instrument, that utilized an integrated 9 bounce (reflection) diamond attenuated total reflectance (ATR) sample interface, were also explored. All calibration standards, quality controls (QC), and samples where ran in triplicate sets.


Conference Presentations:_________________________________________________________________

Biodiesel Blend Analysis by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy,

  • 17th Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA (2014)
  • McNair Summer Research Symposium, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA (2013)

Redox Titration: Idometric Copper,

  • McNair Summer Research Symposium, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA  (2012)


Honors and Awards:______________________________________________________________________

  • University travel grant for NCUR,  (2014)
  • Eastern Washington University Board of Trustees Scholarship ($3000) Scholarship awarded to high-achieving returning students. (2013)
  • Ronald E. McNair PostBaccalaureate Achievement Program, Federally-funded research-oriented undergraduate program with the goal of  increasing the attainment of Ph.D. degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society. (2012 & 2013)
  • Dean's List, Students achieve honor roll if they maintain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and complete at least 12 credits each quarter (2012-2014)
  • President's Honor Roll, Spokane Falls Community College (2010-2011)


Graduate School Acceptances:______________________________________________________________

 University of Houston, Ph.D. in Chemistry

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