Hydration of C(3)A-gypsum systems with different gypsum additions was investigated in terms of the phase assemblage, kinetics and microstructural development. The second stage of the reaction, which begins after the depletion of gypsum, was of particular interest. From in-situ X-ray diffraction results, it was seen that the dissolution of ettringite and C(3)A to form monosulfoaluminate and/or hydroxy-AFm phases is a rapid reaction that occurs right after the depletion of gypsum. The observation of the calorimetric curves obtained for the different gypsum additions leads us to the conclusion that the mechanism controlling the hydration rate during this period is the nucleation and growth of the AFm phases. The microstructural study showed that the formation of AFm phases occurs in the space between the C(3)A grains but also within the boundaries of the original C(3)A grains. Hydrogarnet was observed growing as a shell around the C(3)A grains. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.