The tribological behavior of a steel/PEKK ball-on-flat contact was studied regarding the load, the velocity and the sliding distance in reciprocating or unidirectional motion. The friction measurements were synchronized with an acoustic emission (AE) device. The results show a behavior change associated with an adiabatic effect on the polymer when the mechanical energy input increases. Two interfacial mechanisms are also characterized: Schallamarch ridges and longitudinal ploughings. These mechanisms are related to two AE frequencies of 0.2 MHz and 1 MHz. The discussion on these two AE populations brings a stronger analysis and completes the friction and the wear mechanisms results.