Here's the key to your quandary:
10 is the product of
5. You can represent any number exactly in base 10 decimals that is k * 1/2n * 1/5m where
m are integers.
Alternatively phrased - if the number
n in 1/n contains a factor that is not part of the factors of the base, the number will not be able to be represented exactly in a fixed number of digits in the binary/decimal/whatever expansion of that number - it will have a repeating part. For example 1/15 = 0.0666666666.... because 3 (15 = 3 * 5) is not a factor of 10.
Thus, anything that is able to be represented in base 2 exactly (k * 1/2n) can be represented in base 10 exactly.
Beyond that, there is the issue of how many digits/bits are you using to represent the number. There are some numbers that are able to be exactly represented in some base, but it takes more than some number of digits/bits to do.
In binary, the number 1/10 which is conveniently 0.1 in decimal isn't able to be represented as a number that can be represented in a fixed number of bits in binary. Instead, the number is 0.00011001100110011...2 (with the 0011 part repeating forever).
Lets look at the number 12/10102 a bit more closely.
1010 | 1.00000
1 00 ---------+
1 000 |
------ | repeating
1 0000 | block
This is exactly the same type of thing you get when you try to do the long division for 1/3.
1/10, when factored is 1/(21 * 51). For base 10 (or any multiple of 10), this number terminates and is known as a regular number. A decimal expansion that repeats is known as a repeating decimal, and those numbers that go on forever without repeating are irrational numbers.
The math behind this delves into Fermat's little theorem... and once you start saying Fermat or theorem, it becomes a Math.SE question.
Are there numbers that are not representable in base 10 but can be represented in base 2?
The answer is 'no'.
So, at this point we should all be clear that every fixed length binary expansion of a rational number can be represented as a fixed length decimal expansion.
Lets look more closely at the decimal in C# which leads us to Decimal floating point in .NET and given the author, I'll accept that thats how it works.
The decimal type has the same components as any other floating point number: a mantissa, an exponent and a sign. As usual, the sign is just a single bit, but there are 96 bits of mantissa and 5 bits of exponent. However, not all exponent combinations are valid. Only values 0-28 work, and they are effectively all negative: the numeric value is
sign * mantissa / 10exponent. This means the maximum and minimum values of the type are +/- (296-1), and the smallest non-zero number in terms of absolute magnitude is 10-28.
I'll point out right away that because of this implementation there are numbers in the
double type that cannot be represented in
decimal - those that are out of the range.
4.94065645841247e-324 which can't be represented in a
decimal, but can in a
However, within the range that decimal can represent, it has more bits of precision than other native types and can represent them without error.
There are some other types floating around. There is a BigInteger in C# which can represent an arbitrarily large integer. There is no equivalent to Java's BigDecimal (which can represent numbers up with decimal digits of up to 232 digits long - which is a sizable range) exactly. However, if you poke around a bit you can find hand rolled implementations.
There are some languages that also have a rational data type which allows you to exactly represent rationals (so that 1/3 is actually 1/3).
Specifcally for C# and the choice of float or rational, I'll defer to Jon Skeet from the Decimal floating pint in .NET:
Most business applications should probably be using decimal rather than float or double. My rule of thumb is that manmade values such as currency are usually better represented with decimal floating point: the concept of exactly 1.25 dollars is entirely reasonable, for example. For values from the natural world, such as lengths and weights, binary floating point types make more sense. Even though there is a theoretical "exactly 1.25 metres" it's never going to occur in reality: you're certainly never going to be able to measure exact lengths, and they're unlikely to even exist at the atomic level. We're used to there being a certain tolerance involved.